Hyundai, Kia Recall 500,000 Vehicles Over Fire Risk

February 28, 2019, 4:06 PM UTC

Korea’s top automakers are recalling more than a half million vehicles in the U.S. after discovering a flaw that could lead to engine fires.

Hyundai and Kia are the subject of three separate recalls from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Officials say a series of events can lead to oil leaks that can cause fires.

Kia Soul SUVs are the most affected brand. The company is recalling close to 379,000 of the vehicles, from model years 2012 through 2016 with 1.6 liter engines. Kia is also recalling select Kia Sportage SUVs from 2011 and 2012.

Hyundai, meanwhile, is recalling 152,000 Tucson SUVs from 2011 to 2013.

More than 300 Hyundai and Kia vehicles have reportedly had engine fires since last June, putting the companies under scrutiny. Authorities have been looking into them since 2016. And the companies began recalls for the issue in 2015.

On Wednesday, the Center for Auto Safety asked Congress to hold the companies responsible for failing to repair at-risk vehicles.

“Instead of presenting the public a solution for these fires, or a satisfactory explanation, or simply taking responsibility for continuing to sell what appear to be defective engines, both manufacturers have recalled fewer than 10% of the potential fire-prone vehicles and hoped no one would ask about the rest,” said executive director Jason Levine, in a statement.

“The Center for Auto Safety urges Congress to investigate why Kia and Hyundai have refused to fully address this dangerous defect and why the political leadership of the agency responsible for overseeing highway and traffic safety has allowed such continued malfeasance,” Levine said.

The actions follow the recall of 100,000 Honda Ridgeline trucks earlier this month, which could catch fire if they were washed. Ford also recalled more than 1.8 million cars and trucks in three separate recalls in February. Included was the recall of 1.5 million F-150s due to a transmission flaw that could cause the vehicles to downshift to first gear with no warning. Honda, last year, recalled 1.4 million vehicles due to the ongoing Takata issue, which looks to remedy potentially explosive air bags.