Kia Recalls 500,000 Vehicles Due to Faulty Airbags

Korean automaker Kia Motors Corp. announces it is recalling more than a half-million vehicles in the U.S. because an electronic glitch may prevent airbags from deploying in the event of a crash.

The Kia recall comes after a March probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) when at least four people died and another six were injured following six front-end crashes in Kia and its affiliate Hyundai Motor Corp. vehicles in which the airbags failed to deploy. In each crash, the airbags failed to deploy because of an electronic glitch.

Between the two Korean automakers, nearly 1.1 million vehicles have been recalled in the U.S. to address the safety issue. Kia’s recall on Friday is in addition to vehicle defect recalls issued earlier this year by both automakers of their hybrid vehicles related to electrical shortages causing fires to engulf vehicles.

An investigation into the recall notes the airbag control units are susceptible to electrical overstress and can cause a short circuit that prevents airbags from working. Federal safety regulators believe the cause of the airbag non-deployment is related to defective electrical circuitry in the airbag control computers supplied by ZF-TRW. The failing Kia airbags spurring Friday’s recall are among similar airbag control modules as those under previous recall in 2016 involving 1.4 million Fiat Chrysler vehicles. In a statement Friday, ZF-TRW said the airbag control units sent to Kia were designed and built according to Kia specifications.

Kia’s recall covers 507,000 vehicles in all, including 2010-2013 Kia Fortes, 2011-2013 Kia Optimas, and 2011-2012 Kia Optima Hybrid and Sedona vehicles. The Company does not yet have a solution for the faulty airbags but hopes to have a safety remedy by the scheduled owner notification date of July 27th.