Clues Found in Study of Hyundai, Kia Fires

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Jan. 29, 2019—A high number of complaints about certain Hyundai and Kia models bursting into flames has prompted a recall campaign to fix faulty repairs that the affiliated companies say were carried out during previous recalls of 2011-14 Hyundai Sonatas, 2013-14 Hyundai Santa Fe Sports, 2011-14 Kia Optimas, 2012-14 Kia Sorentos and 2011-13 Kia Sportages, reported IIHS.

Analysis by HLDI suggests that the companies are correctly targeting vehicles with small and/or turbocharged engines, though it's unclear whether their proposed remedy will eliminate the additional risk of fire that these models carry. HLDI research also points to an increased risk of fire for turbocharged engines generally, across brands.

In June, the Center for Auto Safety petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate potential defects in Kia Optima, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Santa Fe vehicles from certain model years. The petition, which pointed to a high number of reports of fires unrelated to collisions, prompted HLDI to examine noncrash fire claims for those vehicles in the data it receives from insurance companies.


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