Kia Recalls Over Half A Million Vehicles Over Non-Deploying Airbags

Kia is calling in over half a million of its vehicles in the United States for an electrical issue that could disable some of its most critical safety features. That’s a heck of a lot of vehicles for a single recall, but it concerns a very serious issue.

As Automotive News points out, the recall stems from an investigation launched a few months ago by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The government investigators looked into a problem which seemed to have kept the airbags and seatbelt pretensioners from working in certain vehicles made by Kia and its sister brand/parent company Hyundai.

This defect has resulted in four fatalities and six injuries so far in six serious crashes in Kia’s and Hyundai’s cars.

Hyundai responded by recalling nearly 580,000 vehicles in two separate campaigns in February and April. Now Kia is recalling another 507,000 vehicles of its own for what appears to be the same issue. Combined, that comes to nearly 1.1 million vehicles in the United States alone, and an undisclosed number in other markets.

The malfunction is caused by an electrical glitch that overloads the control module in the event of a crash. It appears to be a similar issue to the one that prompted Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million vehicles in the US back in 2016.

In this case, the recall covers certain 2010-13 Forte Sedan and Forte Koup models, 2011-13 Optima and 2011-12 Optima Hybrid saloons and Sedona minivans. Unfortunately a fix has yet to be identified, but the manufacturer hopes to have one in place in time to start calling those vehicles in to dealers towards the end of July.

This comes just days after Kia announced the recall of over 100,000 newer Sedonas over a defect with their power sliding doors.

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  • Autoexperte

    German ZF Friedrichshafen built non-deploying airbag which killed people, it’s appalling

    • ProtectOurHeritage

      Makes a change from the dodgy Takata ones which fill people’s faces with shards of metal!

      • Autoexperte


  • Jay

    So we have airbags that kill when they deploy and some that kill when they don’t whats next?

    • Autoexperte

      i had a Volkswagen Sharan with non working airbag, an VW shit

    • ProtectOurHeritage

      Did you hear about the Vauxhall Insignia airbag?

      In 2010, Ronald Smith of Scotland, was involved in a six-car accident, during which his airbag deployed successfully. He wasn’t hurt, even though he had been hit from behind and had struck the car in front. The crash was of sufficient force that his car window broke and pierced the airbag of his Vauxhall Insignia. After the crash, he reported seeing white powder emerge from the airbag. His face was also red from some sort of irritation, presumably related to the white powder. A few weeks after the crash, he was admitted to hospital, where he died. He had not been a smoker and had not experienced any other obvious health problems. The coroner said “This man died as a result of this incident and more pointedly because of the explosion of his airbag”. I can find no similar incidents having occurred anywhere else, but this is still a worry for many drivers of GM’s cars!

      Back in 2012, GM said it was investigating and didn’t wish to comment further. Unsurprisingly, there have been no updates since.

      • Jay

        Thats wild, so his airbag was the only one to use the toxic gas. Seems like there should be others they can not or will not locate

        • ProtectOurHeritage

          Absolutely! I’m sure there’s plenty more out there.

  • Bo Hanan

    Thanks Kia!

    • bd0007

      Should thank ZF Friedrichshafen AG for the defective airbag modules.

      Thus far, has also affected Hyundai and FCA.

      So the 2 companies/suppliers responsible for deaths (suppose a non-functioning airbag is better than one that propels shrapnel) are German and Japanese (Takata).

  • Harry Nimmergut

    I really feel sorry for owners of the last-gen Sonata and Optima. These were the vehicles that were deemed to be the front-runners of their class at the time, partially due to daring designs. BUT, it appears that they were rushed to market without appropriate quality controls. The 2.4L engines in many have had to be replaced due to dirt in the manufacturing process. Now Hyundai and Kia are both at a midsize crossroads again, planning on daring designs again for the next redo. Hope they’ve learned their lessons!

  • Alfa Giulia QV

    Well that’s very dangerous.

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