Kia Motors announced that it will be recalling over 507,000 vehicles in the U.S. due to an electronic glitch which may prevent airbags from deploying in the event of an accident. This recall comes after an announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in March that they were investigating airbags in Kia vehicles and its affiliate, Hyundai Motor Corp, after four people involved in crashes were killed and another six injured while driving vehicles manufactured from these automakers.
Earlier in April, Hyundai issued a recall of 580,000 vehicles. This brings the total to nearly 1.1 million vehicles from the affiliated automakers.
The vehicles recalled include Kia Fortes from 2010 through 2013, Kia Optimas from 2011 to 2013, and Kia Optima Hybrids and Sedona minivans from 2011 and 2012. Hyundai recalled Sonatas from 2011 to 2013, and Hyundai Sonata and Sonata Hybrids from 2011 and 2012.
The company said the airbag control can develop a short circuit because they may be susceptible to electrical overstress, preventing the frontal airbags and seat belt pretensioners, which pull the driver and front seat passenger firmly back into their seats in preparation for a crash, from deploying.
According to the NHTSA, the airbag modules in question were built by ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a German auto supplier. The company made a statement earlier in March that they were working with the NHTSA.
Both companies have said they are currently working on a fix. Kia said it would notify owners by July 27, and Hyundai said it would give notifications between April 20 to June 15.
A similar problem appeared to be the cause of airbags failing to deploy during frontal crashes in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles which caused the company to recall 1.4 million U.S. vehicles in 2016.