The CEOs for Korean automakers Kia and Hyundai have refused to attend a congressional hearing to explain why hundreds of their vehicles have spontaneously burst into flames. According to an ABC Action News report, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee has canceled a planned Nov. 14 hearing after the automakers refused to testify on Capitol Hill. A committee spokesman told ABC that discussions with the automakers are ongoing with the hopes of scheduling a future hearing date before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Fires Continue to Occur
Auto safety advocates such as the Center for Auto Safety have blasted Kia and Hyundai for refusing to publicly answer questions relating to these serious safety issues. The center’s executive director, Jason Levine, has said his organization will continue to push for a recall and thorough investigation until the automakers are willing to take responsibility for the three million vehicles on the road that could burst into flames any time with no apparent warning to drivers. So far, one death and several injuries have been associated with these vehicle fires involving Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
Since April, ABC’s Action News team has reported on cases where hundreds of Kia and Hyundai models manufactured since 2011 that caught fire across the country. At the scheduled Nov. 14 hearing before the Senate Committee, the CEOs of Kia and Hyundai were asked to respond to defects that may pose a fire risk. In September, an Ohio mother spoke out and called for a federal investigation after she watched her 48-year-old son burn alive in her 2014 Kia Soul.
Carol Nash said she heard her son Keith’s cries for help as the car suddenly caught fire and burned. She ran toward the burning car, but wasn’t able to rescue her son. In three separate cases, drivers said they were trapped, fighting with doors that would not open as flames raced toward them. In all, 91 out of more than 200 Kia fires involve 2011 to 2014 Optima and Sorento vehicles. The Center for Auto Safety reported last week that 103 fire complaints had been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since June 12.
It is about time both these automakers step up to the plate and take responsibility for the defective products. We stand with the Center for Auto Safety in calling for a product recall. How many people have to burn to death before NHTSA launches a thorough investigation and recalls these dangerous and defective vehicles? If you have been injured by one of these vehicles, contact an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.