Korean motor vehicle manufacturers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. were sued over defects that reportedly cause their engine to catch fire. According to Bloomberg and others, 350 consumer complaints involving non-collision fires were reported to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The class-action lawsuit was filed December 14 in the Central District of California. The affected models are Kia Sorento, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Santa Fe, and 2010-2015 Kia Soul.
This is on top of the Center for Auto Safety's October 2018 call to recall 2.9 million vehicles in five different models. It argued that there was a four-month period where a non-accident fire was reported every day.
Oil issue in Theta II
According to investigations, there is a manufacturing error in the companies' Theta II engines. This is not first issue for the companies, which recalled 1.6 million vehicles between 2011 and 2014 because of engine problems. This new lawsuit alleges that a manufacturers' defect restricts the flow of oil to important engine parts. This in turn causes premature wear, failure, seizure and the aforementioned fires.
The companies are doing the right thing so far in cooperating with the NHTSA. It has also released a statement:
"Over the past three years, we have held numerous meetings with DOT and NHTSA representatives, and proactively discussed and identified possible safety items for NHTSA's evaluation, including the engine recalls. NHTSA has been fully briefed and kept apprised of these recalls and low rates of associated non-collision fires."
A resolution yet to come
There has been no resolution of this case yet. Nevertheless, California drivers are advised to seek legal guidance from an attorney, particularly if their vehicle has caught fire and the dealers' response has not been satisfactory, whether it involves repairing or replacing a vehicle.
Not Every Defect is Subject to a Recall
Whether or not your vehicle has been recalled, if you have experienced a major safety concern and would like to know your rights and options as a consumer, you may contact our attorneys to discuss the problem without charge. It's never too early to seek professional advice when it comes to defects in a vehicle, especially when you or your family's safety is at risk. Knowing your rights is the first step towards protecting them.