What is the difference between a dealer-owned, smoldering Kia Optima pulled off to the side of the road and an identical one sitting perfectly safe back on the lot? Some could literally claim it to be just a couple of test drives in what is turning out to be one of the biggest debaucheries of flagrant disregard for public safety anyone has seen from an automaker in years.
With complaints surmounting the middle-triple digits (402 as of June 27, 2018, according to USA Today) about fire-related issues, Hyundai-Kia still stubbornly refuse to make any form of public gesture accepting responsibility for the massive outbreak of vehicle fires shooting up across the country. The problem is becoming so persistent that they are quite literally burning up on test drives while still in dealer inventory, as alleged by an unofficial source’s statement on RDForum accompanied by a photograph of a flaming Kia pulled off to the shoulder with dealer plates installed.
Be it dealer or private inventory, the public and watchdog groups alike are building up steam in a nationwide rally demanding the Korean carmaker take action to rectify the situation before further losses are incurred. Stubbornly, the carmaker has been thus far resistant to solicit any solution to the problem that has yet to burn itself out. The smoke has blown itself out of so many engine bays, in fact, that the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has issued a probe into the company as it reviews the endless river of mounting complaints and concerns.
Affected models according to Channel 4 News as of Oct. 1, 2018, include but may not be limited to; 2011-2014 Kia Optima, 2012-2014 Kia Sorento, 2011-2013 Kia Sportage, and the 2011-2012 Hyundai Sonatas. If you own a Kia or Hyundai model you suspect may be affected, due diligence should be taken to ensure you are knowledgeable about the proper precautions that might need to be taken.
The rampant fires are already attributed to one death as questions begin to pile up even faster in light of the fact that the company has already issued a recall in 2015 for the 2014 Kia Forte for similar, fire-related concern. It would appear then, that the company has been well aware that a problem existed with their products for years and the 86,880 units recalled in 2015 serve as little to no restitution; Kia is being called upon to recall 2.9 million units.