By on April 7, 2017

2014 Hyundai Sonata

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]

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15 Comments on “Hyundai and Kia to Recall 1.3 Million Vehicles Over Repeat Engine Debris Offense...”


  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Do it right the first time and you don’t have to recall them. By the sound of these recalls, they chose softer materials for their engines/seat belt fastening points in an effort to cut costs.

    Then again, a friend of mine had an interesting engine problem in his Explorer Sport Trak… a portion of the aluminum head broke off and fell into a cylinder as he was driving… destroyed the engine. Wonder how many other Ford engines have done that?

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    We have a 2012 Sorento but it’s not GDI. They actually offered both 4-bangers that year. So I’m confused if this applies to us or not. Guess I will wait and see if a letter shows up or not.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      I could be way off here, but I believe you have a Theta engine & only the Theta 2 (2.0 turbo / 2.4 NA) are affected. I have a co-worker with your engine at well over 300k miles on minimal maintenance. The engine sounds like a sewing machine but it keeps on keeping on!

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    Really sad to see this happen. Hyundai/KIA were an alternative buy to Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

    Now it appears that the venerable Camry remains the only non-CVT option.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    This month’s incentives on the 2017 Sonata are ridiculous. $3350 bonus cash on the SE, $4000 on the Eco and Sport 2.4, $6000 on the Limited and 2.0T. Plus an additional $750 cash back if you finance through Hyundai at standard APR rates, which hopefully would be competitive with banks and credit unions.

    Hyundai is also offering $6000 cash back on leftover new 2016 Sonatas, regardless of trim level.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Wow those 2016 SEs are quite the deal, especially if you can qualify to be an Uber driver easily where you live you could basically sign up for Uber just to get another $1000 off. Between that and financing through HMF you’re looking at $7750 in incentives on a $21,000 car. Crazy.

      • 0 avatar
        ShoogyBee

        One dealer in a nearby city has a couple of brand new 2017 Sonata Sport 2.0T sedans selling for only $19,500. (MSRP is about $27.8K). Probably the most appealing model in the Sonata line-up IMHO. I’m seriously tempted.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Interesting how a QC failure on one Tesla causes a mass freak out among the TTAC commentariat, but serious failures in engineering at Hyundai-Kia that could cause deaths (sudden engine failure, seat belts that don’t hold) in thousands of cars merit, so far, 8 comments.

    Kinda sucks that even when it comes to cars, people divide into their little politically policed camps of confirmation bias. This site’s readers are as wing-nutty when it comes to Tesla, as Elektrek’s readers are when it comes to GM.

    • 0 avatar
      Frownsworth

      Perhaps it has something to do with relative expectations ? I mean, 15 years ago, Kia/Hyundai was essentially bargain-basement options in the car market. 13 years ago, Elon Musk founded Tesla. Look at where either company is aiming and what each has accomplished that is cutting-edge. I mean, Tesla is a financial backer for SpaceX, first to recycle and reuse rockets and eventually going to Mars. Kia/Hyundai is aiming for mass sales and status quo. Tesla has what is essentially the fastest mass sold electric car with AI-based autopilot. Kia/Hyundai has no equivalent.

      I can’t help but to imagine that people inadvertently judge the two companies (Tesla vs. Kia/Hyundai) at very different expectation levels simply based on what each has accomplished in that past decade or so. A failure by Tesla or SpaceX reflects cutting-edge developments while these kinds of engine failures at Kia/Hyundai reflects nothing but routine QC and engineering issues.

      But yeah… Undoubtedly there is a lot of confirmation bias and personal bias.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    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.)

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    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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