DETROIT - Kia is recalling over a half-million vehicles in the U.S. because the air bags may not work in a crash.
Combined with a previous recall expansion by Hyundai, the affiliated automakers are recalling nearly 1.1 million vehicles due to the problem, which has been linked to four deaths.
The moves by both Korean automakers came after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the problems in March. The safety agency said at the time it had reports of six front-end crashes with significant damage to the cars. Four people died and six were injured.
Vehicles covered by the Kia recall include 2010 through 2013 Forte compact cars and 2011 through 2013 Optima midsize cars. Also covered are Optima Hybrid and Sedona minivans from 2011 and 2012.
In April, Hyundai expanded a recall from earlier in the year to 580,000 vehicles. Those include the 2011 through 2013 Sonata midsize car and the 2011 and 2012 Sonata Hybrid. Hyundai says the recall now includes all vehicles with the same air bag computers.
Both automakers say they're working on a fix. Kia said it would notify owners by July 27, while Hyundai said its notification runs from April 20 to June 15.
Both Hyundai and Kia will offer loaner vehicles to owners who request them.
Government documents say a short circuit can develop in an air bag control computer made by parts supplier ZF-TRW, and the air bags can fail to deploy. The computer detects a crash signal, issues a command to inflate the air bags and prepares seat belts for a crash if necessary.
In documents from the investigation, NHTSA said it understands that the Kia Fortes under investigation use similar air bag control computers made by ZF-TRW. The agency noted a 2016 recall involving more than 1.4 million Fiat Chrysler cars and SUVs that had a similar problem causing the air bags not to deploy. Agency documents show those vehicles had air bag computers made by ZF-TRW.
The agency said would evaluate the Hyundai-Kia problems and will investigate whether any other vehicle manufacturers used the same or similar ZF-TRW air bag computers. Messages were Friday left seeking comment from NHTSA.
The agency says four crashes occurred in Sonatas and two happened in Fortes. One Forte crash happened in Canada. All six crashes were reported to NHTSA between 2012 and 2017, but it was unclear when they occurred.
In a statement Friday, ZF-TRW said the air bag control units sent to Kia were designed and built according to Kia specifications. The company provided technical support to Kia, it said.
ZF also supplies air bag computers to other manufacturers which it did not identify, but said each one is "designed to a customer's particular vehicle." The statement said ZF is cooperating with the government investigation.
In May of last year, NHTSA opened an investigation into whether Hyundai and Kia moved quickly enough to recall more than 1.6 million cars and SUVs because the engines can stall, increasing the risk of a crash. The investigation into three recalls by the two brands is pending. The agency also said it's investigating whether the automakers followed safety reporting requirements.
Two San Diego County community colleges announced Monday they expect to waive tuition for thousands of first-time, full-time students as part of the California College Promise program.
A Rancho Penasquitos teen is getting ready for his first day of school this week with his new service dog. The senior at Mt. Carmel High School was injured in a horrific car crash and is now in a wheelchair.
Researchers carrying out unprecedented efforts to save an ailing young killer whale in the U.S. Northwest released live salmon into waters in front of the free-swimming orca but didn't see her take any of the fish.
A San Diego County sheriff's deputy already facing charges that he groped 13 women while on duty pleaded not guilty Monday to five new charges, including forcible oral copulation.
San Diego police are searching for an assault with a deadly weapon suspect in the vicinity of Euclid Avenue and Home Avenue in Chollas Creek Monday and are asking the public to avoid the area.
Three bills authored by San Diego-area legislators were signed into law Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown, including one that increases penalties in human-trafficking cases and another limiting interactions between male correctional officers and female prisoners.
The investigation continues into the tragic killing of a pregnant mother and her two young daughters in Colorado. The girls' father remains behind bars accused in their deaths.
'A deep breath will be useful throughout your whole day. It can help you reset when things don’t go your way …'
Sahara Rose shares her wisdom about Ayurveda and shows people the benefits of eating according to their Dosha.