The Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit auto safety group, is demanding a recall of 2.9 million Hyundai and Kia cars and SUVs due to widespread reports of the vehicles catching fire.
In a statement on Friday, the group said there had been more than 220 complaints about fires since 2010, and 200 more complaints about melted wires and smoke, the AP reported. The affected vehicles include the 2011-’14 Kia Sorento, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, and Hyundai Santa Fe, and the 2010-’15 Kia Soul models.
“Since our call for an investigation into these Kia and Hyundai non-collision fires, we have seen reports of almost one fire every single day across these five models,” Jason Levine, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety said in a statement. “The number and severity of these complaints, when people are simply driving their cars on the highway, is frightening. It is long past time for Kia and Hyundai to act. Car fires put everyone on the road in significant danger.”
The fires are being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of an expanded examination of Hyundai and Kia engine failures.
Both Hyundai and Kia responded to the claims in an article published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Kia is proud of its strong safety record and the integrity of our products and all Kia vehicles sold in the United States meet or exceed all federal government vehicle safety standards,” a spokesperson said.
A Hyundai spokesperson told the outlet, “The safety and security of our customers is Hyundai’s number one priority. Hyundai is working collaboratively with NHTSA and communicates with the agency regularly on all safety related issues.”
Last year, the companies recalled more than 1.2 million vehicles with an engine problem.