At first, after the devastation of watching her son burn to death in their 2014 Kia Soul, Carol Nash labeled it a horrible freak accident. Tragically, she soon discovered Kia car fires are anything but rare.
Not tens, but hundreds of drivers across the U.S. have reported stories like this, finally prompting Kia and Hyundai to announce last month that they plan to recall over 150,000 vehicles.
Upon National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approval, owners of the following cars and SUV’s that participated in a previous recall (No. 17v224) will be notified by mail to take their cars in for inspection:
- 2011-2014 Kia Optimas
- 2012-2014 Kia Sorentos
- 2011-2013 Kia Sportages
- 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonatas
- 2013-2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport vehicles
The number of vehicles potentially involved include about 100,000 Hyundais, 50,051 Kia Optimas, 17,024 Kia Sorentos, and 1,052 Kia Sportages.
According to Kia, a previous engine replacement recall could be the problem, as, “In some cases, the high-pressure fuel pipe may have been damaged, misaligned or improperly torqued during the engine replacement procedure, allowing fuel to leak increasing the risk of fire.” Hyundai participated in the same engine replacement procedure.
But what is more likely the culprit is a car company trying to save a buck by cutting corners. Former Kia corporate headquarters employee Jason Vaughn says he told his boss the numerous car fires were a result of shoddy engine work back in November 2017, but “She didn’t think that it was something that we should look at.”
You see, recalls are expensive. Not only because of labor and parts costs, but because of the bad name they give a car company. The reputation factor is, in fact, more expensive for the car maker than the recall. Car companies will do anything to avoid it, even if it means letting a few people lose their lives.
Congress scheduled a Senate hearing for November 2018 to learn whether Kia and Hyundai have acted fraudulently or deceptively regarding the numerous car fires, but the hearing was canceled after Kia and Hyundai CEO’s refused to appear.
Regardless of what happens next for the car companies, Kia and Hyundai owners who have experienced a car fire may have the right to file a claim to recover costs for property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and wrongful death if necessary.
If your Kia or Hyundai vehicle has caught fire, Fort Lauderdale trial lawyer and author of Corporate Serial Killers, John Uustal, can help answer any questions you may have on filing a claim or other related matters.