Sen. Bill Nelson calls for investigation into non-collision-related car fires

Over 37,000 Kia, Hyundai vehicles recalled

ORLANDO, Fla. – Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for an investigation after two recent fires involving parked Kia vehicles in the Tampa area took place. The fires were the latest in a slew of non-collision-related fires.

According to Consumer Reports, Hyundai and Kia have recalled more than 37,000 hybrids in May because of an oil leak that could cause a fire.

On Wednesday, Nelson sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, demanding that the agency detail the steps it’s taking to address the fires, and whether a safety defect investigation is being conducted.

“Spontaneous fires are serious safety hazards and should not be taken lightly,” Nelson said. “We have to find out what is causing these fires and what can be done to prevent them. Owners need to know if their vehicles are safe.”

According to a news release from Nelson, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which oversees the automotive industry, a review by the Center for Auto Safety recently found there have been more than 120 complaints filed with the NHTSA involving non-collision-related fires in both car brands.

There have been 23 reported incidents of spontaneous fires involving Kia and Hyundai vehicles since 2014 in Florida alone, and in May, an Ocala woman was forced to pull over and get out of her 2012 Kia Sorento after it caught fire as she was driving on I-4.

Hyundai representatives responded to the spontaneous fires, saying, in part, “Hyundai is aware of and is reviewing the petition filed by the Center for Auto Safety in regards to 2011-2014 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport vehicles. Hyundai actively evaluates potential safety concerns with all of its vehicles. Should we, in close coordination with NHTSA, find that additional remedies in the U.S. are warranted for these vehicles, we will take immediate action to ensure the safety of our customers.”

Additionally, Kia released a statement saying, in part, “Kia Motors America (KMA) continuously evaluates its vehicles as part of ongoing monitoring activities conducted as a standard practice on all Kia models and provides quarterly reports to the NHTSA about any consumer complaints, notices or claims for any safety issues, including fires.

"KMA has, and will continue to, cooperate and collaboratively work with NHTSA on all matters related to vehicle safety and if a safety defect is detected through the course of vehicle monitoring, Kia promptly reports a safety related defect within the five days mandated by law.”

Click here to see if your car has been recalled.

Owners may contact Kia customer service at 800-333-4542.

Owners may contact Hyundai customer service at 855-371-9460.

About the Author:

Dawn Jorgenson, Graham Media Group Branded Content Managing Editor, began working with the group in April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.