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Kia is Catching Fire (In a Bad Way)


In February of 2019, Hyundai and Kia issued a recall on several of their vehicles after it became apparent that they were catching fire for no apparent reason. As a result, over half a million vehicles had to be recalled. These included:

  • Hyundai Sonata,
  • Kia Optima,
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport,
  • Kia Sorento, and
  • Sportage SUVs.

Most recently, a Florida man has filed a lawsuit against Kia Motor Corporation and Hyundai after his wife hit an alligator in South Carolina and lost control of her vehicle. The vehicle struck a tree and immediately caught on fire. The plaintiff is claiming that a design flaw in the vehicle caused the fire that ended up killing his wife and children. The vehicle in question was a 2011 Kia Soul. The recall involved Kia Souls manufactured from 2012 to 2016.

The complaint says that the initial impact was survivable but the force of the impact caused the vehicle to explode and catch fire. Below, we’ll discuss the recent problems that Kia has been having and how this could endanger you and your family.

Kia Vehicles Bursting into Flames

Kia began fielding complaints concerning engine fires since 2018. In June of that year, The Center for Auto Safety, a consumer watchdog group, filed a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These vehicles showed an increased risk of engine fire. In November of 2018, federal prosecutors conducted a criminal investigation in the companies to determine if the recalls were conducted properly. An NHTSA investigation had been launched in May of the previous year.

Hyundai, which is owned by the same parent company as Kia, conducted recalls related to the 2011 to 2013 models of its Tucson. These recalls were related to high exhaust temperatures that damaged the catalytic converter. Kia issued an update to its software which supposedly corrected the problem.

However, concerns about Hyundais and Kias were raised as early as 2016 when a South Korean whistleblower indicated that there may be safety issues with the vehicles. In 2015, Hyundai recalled 470,000 vehicles due to engine stalls that increased the risk of crashes. However, Kia did not recall vehicles that shared the same engine as the Sonata. It wasn’t until March of 2017 that Kia made an effort to recall vehicles that had the “Theta II” engine that was recalled by Hyundai in 2015. Kia ended up eventually recalling over 600,000 vehicles with that engine.

Around 300 Kias caught fire in events that were not related to accidents. The most recent lawsuit against Kia was the result of an accident. The plaintiffs are alleging that design defects in the crumple zone extend into the gas tank producing an unreasonable risk of injury or death when the cars are involved in a violent collision.

Talk to a Vero Beach Personal Injury Attorney

If a vehicle malfunction caused your injuries, talk to the Vero Beach personal injury attorneys at Vocelle & Berg, LLP. We can help you recover damages and hold the negligent parties responsible.