Kia is warning owners of certain models to park their cars outside until they can be recalled due to a fire risk. According to a report by CBS News, some 2017 through 2021 Kia Sportage SUVs and 2017 through 2019 Cadenza sedans are at risk. The company is also explaining how to recognize the threat.
The cars described above are at risk of catching fire due to a short circuit in the hydraulic electronic brake control unit. This can cause excessive current, which can then cause a fire in the engine compartment. The issue applies to the models listed above that are not equipped with Kia's Smart Cruise Control system. Owners may see warning lights like the tire pressure light or anti-lock brake light coming on their dashboards before the malfunction occurs.
Kia will reportedly be reaching out to the owners of these cars directly starting on April 30. Thankfully, so far the company has received no reports of crashes, fires or injuries due to the malfunction. When the recall is issued, it will replace the fuses in the electrical junction box and the cars should be back to normal.
Kia was notified of this danger by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday. The agency has been investigating both Kia and Hyundai engine fires in recent years. While none have been specifically linked to the issues above yet, the NHTSA has gathered complaints about over 3,100 fires, with 103 injuries and at least one death.
Both car manufacturers are now facing heavy fines for these lapses. Each will reportedly pay $137 million to the NHTSA, and will also pay for safety improvements moving forward. The agency believes the manufacturers moved too slowly on recalls that could have had deadly consequences.
So far, Kia has denied the allegations by the NHTSA, but has cooperated in order to avoid a prolonged legal battle. The NHTSA has documented over 6 million engine failures between Kia and Hyundai since 2015.
Based in South Korea, the Kia Motors Corporation is a subsidiary of Hyundai and is the second-largest car manufacturer in the country. It was founded in 1944 and expanded rapidly as the region was industrialized, opening its first automotive assembly plant in 1973. Its cars have been extremely successful in the U.S., particularly in the last three years with industyr awards and strong longevity reports. It is not yet clear how the upcoming recall will impact that reputation.