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Hyundai, Kia Fined up to $210 Million over Handling of Engine Recalls

Laura Sky Brown
·2-min read
Photo credit: Hyundai
Photo credit: Hyundai

From Car and Driver

  • Hyundai Motor America has agreed to pay a cash penalty of $54 million and other fines that could add up to $140 million, while Kia Motors America also was fined an amount that could reach $70 million.

  • This is the result of an inquiry by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into its recalls of the 2011–2014 Sonata and 2013–2014 Santa Fe Sport SUV, as well as Kia vehicles from 2011–2014 model years.

  • Hyundai has created a dedicated engine recall website as part of the agreement, to ensure owners get timely information.

Hyundai Motor America announced today that it has reached an agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in an investigation into the way it conducted a recall. The problem was related to engine defects in the 2011–2014 Hyundai Sonata and the 2013–2014 Santa Fe Sport that could cause premature bearing wear and potential engine failure.

NHTSA's investigation concluded that the automaker did not recall 1.6 million vehicles subject to the problem "in a timely fashion," as Reuters reported today, and did not report information about the recalls accurately.

Total fines include a $54 million fine to be paid first, an agreement to put $40 million into improving safety operations, and a potential additional $46 million fine that may be levied later depending on how well Hyundai meets NHTSA's requirements in the newly issued Consent Order.

Kia was also fined $27 million in cash penalties plus a potential later fine of $27 million, and the requirement to pay $16 million for safety process improvement. This is related to a separate recall including the 2011–2014 Optima, 2012–2014 Sorento, and 2011–2013 Sportage with the 2.0- and 2.4-liter Theta II engines, NHTSA's order said.

The safety operations will be new IT systems "to better analyze safety data and identify potential safety issues," as well as construction of a new field testing and inspection laboratory in the U.S., Hyundai said.

Photo credit: Hyundai
Photo credit: Hyundai

Hyundai said that for owners of the recalled vehicles that have already had their engines replaced, Hyundai has issued a second recall "out of an abundance of caution" in which it will "inspect and confirm proper reinstallation of the fuel tube to the high-pressure fuel pump."

Hyundai has created an engine recalls website for consumers who need more information about this recall. The site also covers a recall involving more Hyundai and Kia models that calls for a software update. The Hyundai website and NHTSA recall website also allow owners to find out if their vehicles are included.

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