The Center for Auto Safety, which is a nonprofit auto safety group, is insisting that Hyundai and Kia recall 2.9 million cars and SUVs in the United States due to consumer complaints that they can catch fire. According to an Associated Press news report, so far, there have been more than 220 complaints to the U.S. government since 2010 about fires as well as 200 other complaints about melted wires and smoke/burning odors.
Reports of Fires and One Death
The hazards involve the 2011-2014 Kia Sorento and Optima and the Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe. Also included are the 2010-2015 Kia Soul cars. The fires are under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as part of a 2017 probe into Hyundai and Kia engine failures. The center’s executive director Jason Levine said the automakers seem content to sit back and allow consumers and insurers “to bear the brunt of poorly designed, manufactured and repaired vehicles.”
The fire reports have come from all over the country and include one fatality that happened in Ohio in April 2017. Kia has said it is using company and third-party investigators to determine what caused the fires. The Center for Auto Safety filed a petition asking NHTSA to investigate the fires in June. The cause of the fires has yet to be determined. Federal safety regulators are looking into three recalls by Hyundai and Kia and are also investigating whether the Korean automakers followed safety-reporting requirements. Kia is a smaller affiliate of Hyundai. Together they are the world’s fifth-largest automaker.
Need for Prompt Action
Over the last several months we’ve heard about a number of complaints of Kia and Hyundai vehicles spontaneously catching fire, killing at least one victim. It is imperative that the automakers here step up, take full responsibility and issue this recall as soon as possible in order to prevent more injuries and fatalities. If you have been injured as a result of one of these defective vehicles, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, damages and losses by filing an auto product liability claim against the automaker. Victims of such incidents should preserve the vehicle in its current condition, unaltered, and immediately contact an experienced auto defect lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases against large automakers.