South Korean automaker Kia has recalled some 295,000 U.S. vehicles for engine fire risks according to a recent report from Reuters. The recall covers some 2012 – 2013 model of the Sorento and also the 2012 – 2015 Forte and Forte Koup while the 2011 – 2013 Optima Hybrid, 2014 – 2015 Soul and 2012 Sportage are all among the vehicles recalled as they’re on the risk of catching fire while being driven.
With the recall, dealers are expected to make inspections on the engine compartment for fuel and oil leaks and also perform engine test and repair any damages or outright replacement of the engine if need be. Kia said it is currently developing a Knock Sensor Detection System software update.
The company with its fellow Korean automaker Hyundai have both agreed to a record US$210 million civil penalty after US auto safety regulators stated their failure to recall 1.6 million vehicles for engine issues on time.
The companies agreed to consent orders after the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated the companies inaccurately reported some information to the agency regarding the recalls. The civil penalty of Kia is about US$70 million which includes an upfront payment of US$27 million requirements in order to spend US$16 million on specified safety measures and a potential US$27 million deferred penalty.
The settlement covers recalls in 2015 and 2017 for manufacturing issues that could lead to bearing wear and engine failure.
In the new recall, the NHTSA started an investigation back in 2019 into a non-crash fires in Kia and Hyundai vehicles and the agency recommended back in July that Kia conduct recalls on certain models with a higher fire compliant rate.
Kia said “based on NHTSA’s recommendation” it had made the “decision to recall certain Kia vehicles as a preventative measure to mitigate any potential fire risk.”
Hyundai on the other hand then recalled some 129,000 US vehicles because connecting rod bearings may wear prematurely which can cause vehicle engine’s damage and increase fire.