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NHTSA Steps Up Probe into Hyundai and Kia Engine Fires

Hyundai and Kia

U.S. auto safety regulators have stepped up a series of investigations into engine fires that have led to the recall of millions of Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

According to an Associated Press news report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says a new engineering analysis investigation covering more than 3 million vehicles from the 2011 through 2016 model years. The agency has so far received 161 complaints of engine fires, some of which have been reported in already-recalled vehicles.

Engine fires and failures have been a problem for the Korean automakers’ vehicles since September 2015 when they issued an engine failure recall. Since then, Hyundai and Kia – which are sister companies – had issued at least eight more recalls for a number of engine-related problems.

Investigation Into Engine Fires Ramps Up

NHTSA has said it is now opening an engineering analysis to look into whether prior recalls covered enough vehicles. It will also evaluate how effective the prior recalls were. The engineering analysis could lead to more recalls. Hyundai has said it is cooperating with U.S. regulators.

The vehicle fires involve several models including the Hyundai Sonata, Santa Fe, and Elantra as well as Kia’s Sorento, Rio, Optima, and Soul. Model years covered are 2011 through 2016. NHTSA says three people have reported eye and burn injuries as a result of the vehicle fires.

Penalties for Moving Slowly

In November 2020, NHTSA announced that Kia and Hyundai must pay $137 million in fines for safety improvements because they moved too slowly to recall more than 1 million vehicles with engines that can fail. The fines resolve a prior probe into the companies’ behavior involving recalls of several models dating to the 2011 model year. Kia was to pay $27 million and invest $16 million in safety measures.

The Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit and consumer advocacy organization, collected data that showed 31 U.S. fire and engine-related recalls from Hyundai and Kia since 2015. The recalls involve more than 20 models from the 2006 through 2021 mode years totaling more than 8.4 million vehicles. A number of these recalls involved manufacturing defects that prevented oil from flowing through the engine block.

Auto Product Liability Issues

If you or a loved one has been injured or if you have lost a loved one as a result of the Hyundai and Kia engine fires, you may be able to seek compensation for the injuries, damages, and losses you have suffered. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.


Source: 705d7bf5065681089208841c2ea64d55

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