March 19, 2019

CT investigating Hyundai, Kia vehicle fires

Photo | flickr via InSapphoWeTrust
Photo | flickr via InSapphoWeTrust
Hyundai Sonata GLS.

Connecticut has joined a multistate investigation into Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. for potential unfair and deceptive practices related to hundreds of vehicle fires.

The South Korean automakers are responsible for "multiple" fires involving Connecticut vehicles, according to Attorney General William Tong, who said some engines caught on fire despite undergoing recall-related repairs.

Tong said Connecticut is one of the leaders leading the investigation, but did not reveal how many states were involved in the probe.

"This is a serious matter, and we are moving aggressively and responsibly to uncover the facts and to ensure accountability," Tong said in a statement.

Hyundai and Kia began recalling hundreds of thousands of cars equipped with the Theta II gasoline direct injection engine in 2015, the attorney general's office said.

In total, the automakers have recalled over 2.3 million vehicles over the last four years, according to Reuters, which also reported that federal prosecutors are investigating whether engine recalls were being handled properly.

A spokesman for Hyundai on Tuesday said the automaker is closely monitoring the issue.

"Hyundai is fully cooperating with the government in this matter, and is committed to providing American motorists with safe, high quality, efficient and affordable vehicles," he said. "Hyundai is closely and continuously monitoring the field performance of our engines, has made numerous improvements to our engine manufacturing, and has enhanced our customer service efforts to address every single impacted customer."

This wouldn't be Connecticut's first legal scrum with the automakers.

In 2016, the state received over $1.4 million to resolve alleged fuel economy claim violations by Hyundai and Kia as part of a $41 million settlement with 32 other states.

The settlement resolved allegations that the automakers misrepresented the mileage and fuel economy ratings for vehicle models between 2011 and 2013.

This story has been updated to include comment from Hyundai

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