Hyundai and Kia to Recall 1.3 Million Vehicles Over Repeat Engine Debris Offense

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. have announced plans to recall 1.3 million vehicles in the United States and South Korea for engine defects that could result in stalling. While no automaker wants to face the possibility of a recall, Hyundai Motor Group is already facing a sales slump in both North America and Asia.

Having to waste millions on a recall that further brings the company’s ability to regulate quality into question is the last thing it needs. Last month, Hyundai recalled roughly one million cars seat for a faulty fastener that occasionally caused seat belts to detach in a crash.

For the Western market, the recall affects Kia’s Optima, Sorento and Sportage — while Hyundai will be recalling the Sonata sedan and Santa Fe crossover. The companies are only waiting for regulatory approval for the proposed fix. The 171,348 vehicles being recalled in South Korea seem to be suffering from a similar manufacturing problem as the American vehicles, which both result in engine stalling.

A Hyundai spokeswoman who spoke with Reuters said the latest recall is unrelated to the global recall of nearly 500,000 Sonatas in 2015, but South Korean government officials disagree.

“[This] recall is related to a manufacturing process problem, not the structural problem of Theta 2GDi engines and we have completed improvements through appropriate measures,” reads Hyundai’s official statement.

The South Korean ministry claims that metal debris surrounding the crankshaft of pre-August 2013 Theta 2 powerplants could cause damage, leading to lugging or stalling. That’s interesting, as Hyundai’s 2015 North American recall was also due to engine debris in the direct-injection motors.

In North America, the affected models include the 2013 and 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Sonata, the 2011 through 2014 Kia Optima, 2011 to 2013 Kia Sportage SUVs, and the 2012 to 2014 Kia Sorento.

The recall of Korean cars begins on May 22nd, while American vehicles are eligible for repairs starting May 19th.

[Image: Hyundai Motor Group]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Apr 10, 2017

    This affects my 13 Optima Hybrid, as it did my son's 11 Sonata. I'm grouchy. I already know two people whose engines blew up from this fault: one was the 2.4, another was the 2.0T. People have been making crankshafts for ~150 years, and this is inexcusable. (I think, in fact, it is actually Hyundai/Kia's supplier who botched the crankshafts, but nevertheless, H/K owns the problem, particularly since they didn't catch the fault.)

  • NormSV650 NormSV650 on Apr 19, 2017

    Enjoy your warranty! That's why they have one of the most comprehensive coverage in the industry and it is backfiring on them...multiple times.

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