Kia is recalling nearly 295,000 vehicles in the United States because the engines could potentially stall or catch fire. According to a USA Today news report, the recall comes just a week after Kia and sister company, Hyundai, both based in Korea, were fined by the U.S. government for delaying recalls.
The Kia recall covers some 2012 and 2013 Sorento SUVs, 2012 through 2015 Forte and Forte Koup cars, and 2011 through 2013 Optima Hybrid cars. Also included are 2014 and 2015 Soul SUVs and 2012 Sportage SUVs. Kia says in documents posted by the U.S. government that no manufacturing defect has been found, but that it is recalling the vehicles to mitigate any fire risk.
This recall comes after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating Kia and Hyundai engine fires in 2019. The agency launched the investigation after the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit, filed a petition asking for the probe. When the inquiry began, NHTSA said it had received consumer complaints of more than 3,100 fires, 103 injuries and one death. Kia will begin to notify owners beginning Jan. 27. Dealers will inspect the engines for fuel or oil leaks and replace them if needed.
Fines for Delaying Recalls
Last week, NHTSA announced that both Kia and Hyundai must pay $137 million in fines and for safety improvements because the companies dragged their feet to recall more than 1 million vehicles with the risk of engine failure. The fines resolve a three-year government investigation into the companies’ behavior involving recalls of multiple models dating to the 2011 model year.
Under the agreement, Kia must pay $27 million and invest $16 million in safety performance measures. Another $27 million payment will be deferred as long as Kia meets safety conditions. Kia has denied the allegations but said it agreed to the settlement in order to avoid a lengthy legal battle. Engine failures and fire risks have plagued both Hyundai and Kia vehicles for more than the last five years.
Auto Product Liability Issues
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these or other defective autos, you may be able to file an auto product liability lawsuit against the automaker or manufacturers of defective parts. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.