Family says their Kia SUV caught fire after engine recall repair completed


AUGUSTA, Ga. (NewsNation Now) — Tamisha Roark says her parents barely made it out alive.

“It could have been horrific if they weren’t able to get out,” said Roark.

She says her mom and dad were on the way to visit her grandmother in hospice when the vehicle first broke down. So they had it towed to the Kia dealership in Augusta, Georgia for the recalled engine to be repaired.

“Once they picked the car up they hadn’t even made it 20 minutes away before there was smoke and people were honking at them. Then they were not able to brake — the brakes went out on the car. My dad had to use the emergency brake to stop the car,” said Roark.

Roark said the repairs were not completed correctly.

“How can you trust a vehicle when… when you look back at the history, once I started to get back into it. There are so many cases. There are so many people that this has happened too,” she said.

“It’s critical that manufacturers appropriately recognize the urgency of their safety recall responsibilities and provide timely and candid information to the agency about all safety issues, “the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement.

After years of legal battles, Hyundai is now forced to pay $54 million and invest $40 million to improve safety operations under an agreement reached with the Safety Administration. Kia, which is affiliated with Hyundai, must pay $27 million and invest $16 million on safety performance measures.

Kia denied the allegations, but said Friday that it wanted to avoid a protracted legal fight.

Kia released this statement:

Kia Motors America (KMA) recognizes that customer safety is paramount and is committed to addressing every thermal incident. All automobiles contain combustible materials and a vehicle fire may be the result of any number of complex factors, such as a manufacturing issue, inadequate maintenance, the installation of aftermarket parts, an improper repair, arson, or some other non-vehicle source, and must be carefully evaluated by a qualified and trained investigator or technician. Claims involving damage to a Kia vehicle, including fires, are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. If a fire is determined to be the result of a Kia manufacturing issue, KMA will work with the customer to reach a satisfactory resolution to the matter. Owners are encouraged to contact Kia Customer Affairs at 800-333-4542 with any questions or concerns related to this matter.

Roark says recalling the vehicle is not enough. 

“It looks like even when the cars are taken in for the recall and the engine is inspected and replaced… all that kind of stuff. It’s still happening. So what they need to do is get these cars off the road altogether. They’re not safe,” she said.

According to the NHTSA: the consent orders with Hyundai and Kia Over Theta II Recall and the executed consent order reflect the “agency’s assessment that both Hyundai and Kia conducted untimely recalls of over 1.6 million vehicles equipped with Theta II engines, and inaccurately reported certain information to NHTSA regarding the recalls.”

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