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Kia recalls 370,000 vehicles over fire concern

By Kim Hye-ran & Kim Tae-gyu, UPI News Korea
Some models of Kia’s Sportage compact SUV are being recalled due to fire risk.  Photo courtesy of Kia
Some models of Kia’s Sportage compact SUV are being recalled due to fire risk.  Photo courtesy of Kia

SEOUL, March 11 (UPI) -- South Korea-based Kia has issued a recall for Sportage compact SUVs and Cadenza sedans in the United States due to a concern over fire risk.

Kia said Tuesday it will recall 2017-21 model year Sportages and 2017-19 model year Cadenzas -- a total of 372,251 vehicles.

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A recall is also coming for the models sold in South Korea, a company spokesman said.

"The two models have different specifications in other countries. As no safety concerns are raised out of the U.S. and Korea, we don't have a plan to recall the two vehicles in other countries," he said.

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The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges owners of the affected vehicles to park them outside and away from homes until they are repaired.

"The electric circuit in the hydraulic electronic control unit in these vehicles may short-circuit, which could cause a fire in the engine compartment," the NHTSA said in consumer alert.

Owners of the vehicles subject to recall will be notified by mail with instructions to bring their vehicles to a Kia dealer to have fuses replaced in the electrical junction box, according to the NHTSA.

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Affected car owners can have the problem fixed at a Kia dealer.

"The NHTSA came up with quite a strong warning to motorists. Kia would be in an emergency mode," Kim Pil-soo, a professor of automotive studies at Daelim University, told UPI News Korea.

"Affected drivers are strongly recommended to have the problems fixed as soon as possible because it's about safety concerns," he said.

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Kia told the agency it was unaware of any fires, crashes, or injuries in the United States related to the recall, according to Consumer Reports.

Kia and its sister automaker Hyundai have been involved in multiple other recalls involving vehicle fires. Hyundai and Kia were fined a total of $210 million in 2020 for delays and inaccurate information reported during recalls, Consumer Reports said.

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