Kia and Hyundai are in the hot seat with the Center for Auto Safety. This nonprofit safety group has demanded the two automotive manufacturers issue a worldwide recall after nearly a decade of reported vehicle fires have been ignored.
Since 2010, there have been over 220 complaints regarding vehicle fires and more than 200 reports of smoke, melted wires, and strange odors.
The issue affects both cars and SUVs. Cars that have experienced vehicle fires include the 2011 through 2014 models of Kia Sorento and Optima, the 2011 through 2014 Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe, and the Kia Soul models from 2010 through 2015.
Should a recall be issued, around 2.9 million cars and SUVs would be taken off the road.
In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began their investigation of the two manufacturers along with claims over engine failures.
However, the Center for Auto Safety filed a petition against this back in June. The nonprofit requested the vehicle fires be a separate case from the engine failures. For now, there’s no word on whether or not their petition was approved.
While over 75% of cars currently on the road are in need of maintenance or repair, this differs from the usual wear and tear of a car.
The significant number of car fires as a manufacturing error put otherwise safe drivers at risk. This becomes an even worse issue should the car harbor particularly young or old individuals. In fact, elderly drivers are more than twice as likely to experience a medical problem that causes difficulty in travel.
“The volume of fires here make it appear that Hyundai and Kia are content to sit back and allow consumers and insurers to bear the brunt of poorly designed, manufactured and repaired vehicles,” claims Jason Levine, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety.
The real trouble lies in Kia’s and Hyundai’s disregard for customer complaints.
Among the more than 200 complaints, over 100 of those have been filed between June and October of this year.
“Based on the data collected to date, and these manufacturers’ inability, or unwillingness, to determine the cause of these fires on behalf of the hundreds of Kia and Hyundai customers who own cars which have burst into flames, the center believes the additional remedy which is warranted is a full recall,” Levine continues in his statement.
Should car manufacturers continue to shirk customer safety, drivers may opt for other modes of travel. In fact, the limo and town car industry makes $6 billion in annual revenue.
So far, the two car companies have begun internal investigations to determine the cause for the fires through company and third-party investigators.
This comes after a series of Kia and Hyundai engine failures in 2017. As a result, the manufacturers were forced to recall over 1.6 million vehicles over engine stalls.
Hyundai claims it champions safety as its number one priority.