Auto safety group pushes Hyundai, Kia for massive recall of 2.9 million vehicles

A nonprofit auto safety group is demanding that Hyundai and Kia recall 2.9 million cars and SUVs in the U.S. due to consumer complaints that they can catch fire.

The Center For Auto Safety says there have been more than 220 complaints to the U.S. government since 2010 about fires and another 200 complaints about melted wires as well as smoke and burning odors.

The complaints involve the 2011 through 2014 Kia Sorento and Optima and the Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe. Also included is the 2010 through 2015 Kia Soul.

The fires are being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of a 2017 probe into Hyundai and Kia engine failures.

“The volume of fires here make it appear that Hyundai and Kia are content to sit back and allow consumers and insurers to bear the brunt of poorly designed, manufactured and repaired vehicles,” Jason Levine, the center’s executive director, said Friday. The fire reports have come in from across the country, including a death in Ohio in April of 2017, he said.

Hyundai says it monitors safety concerns and acts quickly to recall defective vehicles. “We have a robust system in place for monitoring and investigating reported vehicle fires that includes investigation and reporting to NHTSA as required. Vehicle fires can result from a variety of reasons,” the company statement said. Kia did not immediately comment.

The center filed a petition asking NHTSA to investigate the fires in June. The agency said Friday that it is still evaluating the petition.

Levine says the center does not know what’s causing the fires.

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