WASHINGTON, D.C. — Investigators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also known as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, opened an investigation into Hyundai and Kia brands because of numerous reports that specific models and model years are prone to catching fire. CBS from Dallas, Texas reports that the NHTSA will focus its investigation on fires that started without a crash. The inquiry will include over three million cars manufactured by Hyundai and Kia from model years ranging from 2011 to 2015. The NHTSA says that at least one person died and over 100 other people sustained burns and other wounds from the car fires.
The NHTSA opened the investigation after receiving a petition from the consumer advocacy group known as the Center for Auto Safety. The petition laid out in great detail how vehicles assembled in a plant in Atlanta that manufactured Hyundai Santa Fe cars, along with Kia models Sorrento and Optima. The NHTSA investigation will also include Hyundai Sonata cars produced in a plant in Alabama.
The NHTSA specified which model years it will scrutinize. The NHTSA will examine the Hyundai Sonata from 2011 to 2014 along with Hyundai’s Santa Fe for those years. Kia’s Optima and Sorrento from 2011 to 2014 will also be the subject of the inquiry. However, the NHTSA will expand its probe to include 2010 to 2015 Kia Soul autos.
The NHTSA said that it is aware of approximately 3,100 instances of fires sparked by a cause other than an accident. However, the executive director for the Center for Auto Safety said that the NHTSA should have opened an investigation into this lethal problem long ago and expressed hope that the agency will use its authority to identify the source of the deadly defects and how to prevent fires from happening again.
Both Hyundai and Kia acknowledged the impending investigation and stated an intention to cooperate with the NHTSA.
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