Illinois motorists may be interested to learn that Hyundai and Kia are being sued by consumers over an engine defect that causes vehicle fires. The class-action suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Dec. 14.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that it has received more than 350 consumer complaints about non-collision fires in Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The problem is apparently related to a manufacturing defect in the "Theta II" engine, which is featured in five different models made by the two automakers. The lawsuit claims that the defect reduces oil flow to critical engine components, eventually leading to premature failure, engine seizure and fire. Over one four-month period, the defect was causing around one non-collision fire every other day, according to the Center for Auto Safety. As a result, the non-profit consumer advocacy group called for the Korea-based companies to recall 2.9 million affected vehicles in October.
Hyundai and Kia have reportedly recalled approximately 1.6 affected vehicles in the United States. The models were manufactured between 2011 and 2014. In addition to being slapped with the class-action suit, the automakers are facing an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York for their handling of the matter. In a statement, Hyundai said that "nothing is more important" than the safety of its customers. It also claimed that it is coopering with the NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
People who have been harmed by auto defects may have grounds to file a product liability lawsuit against the responsible manufacturer seeking damages. An attorney could help prepare a claim and push for the maximum settlement possible.
Source: Bloomberg, "Hyundai, Kia Sued by Owners Claiming Engine Defect Caused Fires," Sohee Kim, Dec. 16, 2018