Kia Recalling 500K Cars Due to Airbag Problem

Hyundai already recalled nearly 600K vehicles for same issue.

by on Jun.12, 2018

The 2011 Kia Forte is part of a larger recall related to an airbag deployment problem..

Kia issued a recall of more than 500,000 cars in the U.S. because the airbags may fail to inflate during a crash, according to the automaker.

The action includes 2010–13 Forte modes, 2011–13 Optima models as well as 2011 and 2012 Optima hybrids and Sedona minivans. The move comes in conjunction with a similar action by Kia’s sibling maker, Hyundai.

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Which brings the total to nearly 1.1 million vehicles due to the problem, which has been linked to four deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the problem in March when it said it had reports of six front-end crashes with significant damage to the cars. Four people died and six were injured.

(Kia offers up new, upgraded models. Click Here for the story.)

Hyundai’s expanded recall covers 580,000 vehicles, including the 2011–13 Sonata and the 2011 and 2012 Sonata hybrid and all vehicles with the same air bag computers, according to the automaker.

The 2011–13 Kia Optima is also being recalled for the airbag problem.

Both companies are working on a fix. Kia plans to notify owners by July 27, and Hyundai’s notification runs from April 20 to June 15. Hyundai and Kia are offing loaner vehicles to owners who request them.

According to documents, a short circuit can develop in an airbag control computer made by ZF-TRW, resulting in the airbag’s failure to deploy. The computer detects a crash signal, issues a command to inflate the airbags and prepares seat belts for a crash if necessary.

(Click Here to see more about Kia bringing the new Rio GT and Ceed to Geneva.)

NHTSA notes that the Kia Fortes under investigation use similar air bag control computers made by ZF-TRW. Also, the agency makes note of a 2016 recall of 1.4 million FCA vehicles that had a similar problem with airbag computers made by ZF-TRW.

The airbag control units sent to Kia were designed and built according to Kia specifications, ZF-TRW said in a statement. The company provided technical support to Kia, it said.

ZF also supplies airbag computers to other manufacturers, which are “designed to a customer’s particular vehicle.” The supplier says it is cooperating with the government investigation.

(Third-Gen Kia Forte hitting all the marks. Click Here for the story.)

NHTSA opened an investigation into whether Hyundai and Kia moved quickly enough to recall more than 1.6 million cars and SUVs because the engines can stall, increasing the risk of a crash, last May. The investigation into three recalls by the two brands is pending.

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