Kia Motors Corp said on Friday it was recalling more than 507,000 vehicles in the United States because an electronic glitch may prevent air bags from deploying in a crash. Four people died and six were injured.
Combined with a previous recall expansion by Hyundai, the affiliated automakers are recalling almost 1.1 million vehicles due to the problem, which has been linked to four deaths. The NHTSA said in March that it knew about six serious crashes linked with the airbags failing to deploy in frontal crashes, including four in 2011 model Hyundai Sonatas and two in 2012 and 2013 Kia Forte vehicles.
Vehicles covered by the Kia recall include 2010 through 2013 Forte compact cars and 2011 through 2013 Optima midsize cars.
Kia says in government documents that a short circuit can develop in an air bag control computer.
"Kia should have issued a recall well before today and probably right after its sister company, Hyundai, identified a similar defective airbag controller from the same supplier three months ago", Friedman added. "Once one has been developed Kia will notify all owners of the affected vehicles", Kia Canada spokesman Mark James said in an email to Automotive News Canada.
The safety agency also said that electrical overstress appeared to be the root cause in a 2016 recall by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV of 1.4 million USA vehicles for air bag non-deployments in significant frontal crashes. The company provided technical support to Kia, it said. Kia says there are no injuries or fatalities associated with this issue. The investigation into three recalls by the two brands is pending.