Washington, D.C. – January 30, 2022 – The U.S. government auto safety regulator is looking into whether Hyundai (OTCMKTS:HYMTF) and Kia (OTCMKTS:KIMTF) will need to recall additional vehicles that may be prone to catching fire and whether remedies for the recalls both manufacturers have already issued are adequate to lower the risk of fire. Both companies have already issued various recalls for vehicles catching fire, sometimes for unknown reasons.
This latest development is part of an ongoing probe into the situation that affects an estimated 3 million vehicles. A partial list of the vehicles is below:
- 2013 Hyundai Elantra
- 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe
- 2017 Hyundai Tucson
- 2013 – 2014 Santa Fe Sport
- 2011 – 2014 Hyundai Sonata
- 2011 – 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
- 2016 – 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
- 2015 – 2016 Hyundai Veloster
- 2012 – 2015 Kia Forte
On December 21, the regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), opened this probe – called an engineering analysis – on the heels of “161 fires potentially due to engine failures,” which resulted in three injuries.
Out of the complaints submitted, 125 were about vehicles that were not previously included in any fire-related recalls, while the rest was about cars that have already been repaired under one of the eight recalls that have so far been issued due to the risk of these vehicles catching fire.
The full list of vehicles being investigated is available here. Hyundai owns 33.8% of Kia.
‘Caught fire while parked and turned off’
Some of the cars previously not included in a fire-related recall are the 2013 Hyundai Elantra, 2011 Kia Sorento and 2012-2015 Kia Rio with as many as 550,000 of them potentially subject to recalls.
In one of the related complaints, the driver alleges that his or her car caught fire while turned off in a parking lot of a restaurant. Witnesses mentioned hearing “electrical sparks” before the fire. The driver did not have insurance that would cover the loss of his or her “only mode of transportation.”
In another situation, a 2013 Elantra with only “8-12 miles on it” was “fully engulfed” after minutes of catching fire for unknown reasons. A third driver lost his or her brakes but did not receive any additional warnings before seeing smoke coming out from the back of the car while out on the highway.
Potential inadequate remedies
Over 35 complaints are about cars that received recall repairs, but still ended up having engine issues. The following recalls may need to be “re-done” with a new repair:
- Hyundai recalls over 120,000 cars over faulty engines that may catch fire
- Hyundai issues fifth recall over fire risk
- Kia Motors recalls nearly 300,000 cars over engine fire risk
- Kia recalls vehicles over risk of engine fire
- Kia recalls vehicles with engine defect
Background of the investigation
Hyundai and Kia have been under the scrutiny of the U.S. government since 2017 when NHTSA opened queries regarding Theta II engine recalls that contained various “inaccuracies” in the associated reports. Both manufacturers were found liable and paid hefty penalties – $70 million for Kia and $140 million for Hyundai – and were required to take a host of safety-related measures to ensure that these omissions would not happen in the future.
In 2019, NHTSA opened a preliminary evaluation to investigate claims of “non-crash fires,” which resulted in multiple recalls. The investigation has now been upgraded to this engineering analysis, which typically takes a year and may result in additional recalls.
Will your vehicle be part of a new recall?
No new recalls have been announced as of the publication of this article, but future Hyundai engine recalls and Kia engine recalls may be coming. To do a Kia recall check or a Hyundai recall check, use MotorSafety’s free vehicle lookup tool. All repairs will be done free of charge.