U.S. safety agency to probe thousands of Hyundai and Kia fires

Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said in a statement that it’s long past time for the agency to investigate why so many Kia and Hyundai vehicles have caught fire when not involved in crashes. “While it may be six months post-due, we are gratified to see NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigations open formal investigations based on our petition,” Levine said.

Levine of the Center for Auto Safety has said fire complaints to NHTSA have come from across the country, including a death in Ohio involving a Kia Soul in April of 2017. Kia said the driver in that incident damaged the transmission by pushing on the brake and gas pedal at the same time, causing transmission fluid to leak and catch fire. It’s not clear whether this death is the one cited in NHTSA’s figures.

Detroit – The U.S. government’s highway safety agency has decided to open two new investigations into fires involving Hyundai and Kia vehicles after getting complaints of more than 3,100 fires and 103 injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday it granted a petition filed last June seeking the investigations by the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group.

The investigations, one for Hyundai and the other for Kia, cover almost 3 million vehicles from the affiliated Korean automakers that could pose fire hazards. The probes cover the 2011 through 2014 Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe, the 2011 through 2014 Kia Optima and Sorento, and the 2010 through 2015 Kia Soul. The complaints came from consumers and from data provided by both automakers. One death was reported involving a Kia vehicle, according to the documents…

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