Kia recalls nearly 295,000 vehicles in the U.S. over the engine fire risk.
The recall includes some 2012 and 2013 Sorento SUVs, 2012 through 2015 Forte and Forte Koup cars, and 2011 through 2013 Optima Hybrid cars. Also included are 2014 and 2015 Soul SUVs and 2012 Sportage SUVs.
According to Kia, documents posted Saturday by the U.S. government stated that their vehicle has no manufacturing defect, but it’s recalling the vehicles to mitigate any risk of fire.
The recall comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating Kia and Hyundai engine fires in 2019. The agency opened the probe after the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety filed a petition seeking the investigation. When the inquiry began, the agency said it had owner complaints of more than 3,100 fires, 103 injuries, and one death.
Kia is expected to contact owners starting Jan. 27. Dealers will inspect the engines for fuel or oil leaks and replace them if necessary. The company also is developing a knock sensor software update.
Kia must pay $27 million and invest $16 million in safety performance measures. Another $27 million payment will be deferred as long as Kia meets safety conditions, the NHTSA said.
Kia refused to accept these U.S. allegations and said that the company is recalling vehicles to avoid a protracted legal fight.
Engine failure and fire problems with Hyundais and Kias have plagued the companies for more than five years.