WASHINGTON -- Kia is recalling about 65,000 vehicles in Canada and more than 507,000 in the United States because an electronic glitch may prevent airbags from deploying in the event of a crash.
The recalls follow an announcement in March by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it was investigating why some airbags had failed to deploy in Kia vehicles and its affiliate Hyundai Motor Corp. after crashes in which four people were killed and another six injured involving the two automakers' vehicles.
In total, the two Korean automakers have now recalled nearly 1.1 million U.S. vehicles to address the issue. NHTSA said in March it was aware of six serious crashes in which air bags failed to deploy in frontal crashes, including four in 2011 model Hyundai Sonatas and two in 2012 and 2013 Kia Forte vehicles. The crash of the 2013 Forte occurred in Canada.
Kia's recall issued on Friday covers 2010-13 Kia Fortes, 2011-13 Kia Optimas and 2011-12 Kia Optima Hybrid and Sedona vehicles. The company said the air bag control unit may short circuit because they may be susceptible to electrical overstress, preventing the frontal air bags and seat belt pretensioners, which pull the driver and front seat passenger firmly back into their seats, from deploying.
The company said it does not yet have a fix, but is working with its supplier on the issue.
"Kia is currently evaluating a remedy for this recall. 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.