Biden Regulator Launches Investigation Into Automakers Over Fire Risk For Six Million Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation against two foreign automakers on Friday after the companies issued a string of recalls related to fire risks.

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), a part of the NHTSA, launched the investigation after automakers Kia and Hyundai each had eight recalls since 2016 related to manufactured vehicles’ antilock braking system modules and hydraulic electronic control units, according to an announcement from the NHTSA. The series of recalls covers 6.4 million vehicles, all related to brake fluid leaks posing risk of sparking a fire, and aims to look at the decision and speed at which the automakers chose to issue the recalls, according to Reuters.

“The purpose of this [audit query] is to evaluate the timeliness and scoping of Hyundai and Kia’s defect decision making and adherence with reporting requirements; and understand the varying defect descriptions and remedies between these recalls,” NHTSA said in the announcement.

The string of recalls being investigated stems from equipment from the same supplier at both companies, Mando, according to the NHTSA.

The most recent recall was in September, when both automakers issued recalls for a combined 3.37 million vehicles in the U.S., telling owners to park away from structures and outside due to a risk of the vehicle’s engine catching fire, according to Reuters. Since 2017, Kia has reported 10 confirmed fires and melting incidents, and Hyundai has reported 21 fires and 21 other thermal incidents.

Hyundai is one of many foreign automakers, including Toyota and Honda, that has raised wages for its U.S. workforce following a historic deal on wages and benefits between the United Auto Workers and Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, according to Reuters. Workers at Hyundai will receive a wage increase totaling 25% by 2028.

Kia and Hyundai did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation. NHTSA deferred to the announcement.

Will Kessler on November 20, 2023

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