Mar 9, 2021 - Technology

Kia recalls close to 380,000 vehicles due to safety concerns

A showroom model of a KIA Cadenza.

Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Korean automaker Kia is conducting a safety recall of nearly 380,000 vehicles in the U.S. due to concerns of potential engine fires, according to a letter published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Why it matters: The recall comes after the NHTSA opened an investigation in 2019 into Kia and Hyundai engine fires. In November 2020, the agency announced that it was fining the automakers $137 million for not recalling cars with potentially faulty engines quickly enough, according to the AP.

Details: Kia noted that the specific models affected are the 2017-2021 Sportage and Cadenza, and that the potential for a hydraulic electronic control unit (HECU) to short-circuit increased the risk of engine fire — though the exact cause of the problem is unknown.

  • Kia maintains that there have been "no known reported fires, crashes or injuries related to this condition."
  • The safety recall report on the NHTSA website noted that some owners could see warning lights on their cars' dashboards, as well as a burning odor and smoke from the engine compartment.
  • "As a precautionary measure, Kia is instructing owners to park their vehicles outdoors and away from other vehicles or structures until the recall repair has been completed," the report added.

What's next: The recall is expected to begin at the end of April, and Kia will notify owners and conduct repairs for free.

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