Hyundai and Kia are recalling more than 600,000 cars to address problems with trunk latches that could be damaged and prevent the trunk from being opened from the inside.
According to Consumer Reports, this is a concern for children who may be playing unsupervised in a car particularly during warm weather, which could prove fatal.
This recall involves 348,158 Hyundai and 253,074 Kia cars that all have the potentially dangerous latch defect.
Details of the Recall
The Korean automakers link the potential cracking problem that renders the trunk release inoperable with high temperatures. Replacement parts have been engineered to better resist thermal contraction and include steel reinforcement to prevent damage or separation.
Upgraded parts were introduced in the assembly process in 2017, 2018, and 2019, depending on the model. The automakers say there have been more than 40 warranty claims so far, but that they are not aware of any related injuries.
The recalled vehicles include the 2018-2020 Hyundai Accent; 2016 and 2017 Hyundai Azera; 2017 and 2018 Hyundai Sonata; 2016-2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid; 2016-2018 Kia Forte and Forte Koup; and 2018-2019 Kia Rio. When the recall begins, dealerships will replace the trunk latch assembly at no cost to consumers. Vehicle owners may contact Hyundai customer service at 855-371-9460.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Clearly, a trunk latch that fails can have devastating consequences. This is particularly a concern during hot weather, as we are experiencing right now. Whether it’s a young child that accidentally gets stuck in the trunk or an adult, the consequences of getting trapped in a hot trunk can be tragic and fatal.
Automakers have a responsibility to manufacture vehicles that are safe for consumers. In this particular case, an inherent product defect could potentially make these vehicles dangerous. In such cases, automakers must promptly recall the vehicles and offer a repair at no cost to consumers, under federal law.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as the result of a defective auto or if you have lost a loved one, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to help you better understand your legal rights and options.