Some Hyundia, Kia vehicles should be probed for noncrash fires, safety advocate says

WASHINGTON — The Center for Auto Safety has asked NHTSA to investigate certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles built in the U.S. for potential noncrash fire risk.

The consumer safety group says 120 complaints of fires have been submitted to NHTSA along with 229 complaints of melted wires in the engine bay, smoke and burning odors. The volume of incidents suggests there is a potential systemic issue that needs to be found so a remedy can be developed, it said in the Monday petition.

The group said the vehicles with problems are the Kia Sorento, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Santa Fe for model years 2011-2014. The Sorento, Optima and Santa Fe were built at Kia Motors Manufacturing in West Point, Ga. The Sonata was built at Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, Ala.

“An important question is whether these commonalities indicate potential flaws in the manufacturing process that is worthy of immediate investigation, not only into the vehicles but the oversight and safety processes at these facilities. In the alternative, supplier error may be responsible,” the Center for Auto Safety said in a news release.

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