A disturbing new study has found that certain engines in Hyundai and Kia vehicles are more likely to catch fire than any other vehicles on the road. According to a report by WFTS-TV in Tampa, Matt Moore, who oversaw the engine study at the Highway Loss Data Institute, reported that Kia and Hyundai vehicles with two-liter, turbocharged engines were more than three times likely to catch fire compared to engines in any other similar-sized vehicle on U.S. roadways.
Those engines are found in 2011 to 2015 Kia Optima, 2011 to 2014 Hyundai Sonatas and 2013 to 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sports. The automakers have recalled most of those vehicles since January. Hyundai points out that it began to recall these vehicles back in 2015 and again did so in 2017. However, the Korean automakers have yet to recall all vehicles running on another potentially dangerous engine – a 2.4-liter model that the institute found in its study is nearly two times more likely to catch fire.
Potential for Catastrophic Car Fires
Kristin Wilson, a vehicle owner, told the TV station that her 2015 Kia Sportage had that 2.4-liter engine. Her vehicle burst into flames as she drove down a Georgia highway last summer. She said her SUV blew up in front of her and her family. But, Wilson’s SUV is not among the hundreds of thousands of Kia models that were recently recalled for fire hazards.
A Kia spokesperson said the automaker negotiated a resolution with Wilson because she had only owned the vehicle for a month before it burst into flames. Another vehicle owner Fernanda Krueger who was also interviewed for the same article had a 2016 Kia Sorento, which was not on the recall list. That vehicle, also equipped with a 2.4-liter engine, caught fire last April in San Diego as she was driving the SUV.
Time to Require Action
So far, Kia and Hyundai have recalled about 700,000 vehicles since January. But auto safety advocates such as the Center of Auto Safety have maintained that it’s not enough. In fact, Jason Levine with the Center for Auto Safety petitioned federal regulators to force the automakers to recall 2.9 million vehicles. Insurance claim records also show that more Hyundai and Kia vehicles are catching fire than have been reported to government regulators.
As auto defect attorneys, we have been deeply concerned about these complaints involving Hyundai and Kia vehicles. It is imperative that a prompt recall is issued before any more catastrophic incidents can occur. If you or a loved one has been injured or if you have lost a loved one as a result of these auto defects, please contact a reputed auto defect law firm to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.