Investigation Launched as 6 Million Cars Are Flagged for Fire Risks

( – Two foreign automakers are now under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after a string of automobile recalls by the companies flagged around 6 million vehicles for potential fire risks.

Since 2016, Hyundai and Kia have both had eight vehicle recalls related to manufacturing errors with hydraulic electronic control units and antilock braking system modules. The recalls amount to over 6.4 million automobiles that may leak brake fluid, which poses a fire risk.

The NHTSA announcement issued by the Office of Defects and Investigation (ODI) said the purpose of their audit “is to evaluate the timeliness and scoping” of the decision-making process surrounding defects “and adherence to reporting requirements” by the two automakers, and to “understand” the different “defect descriptions and remedies” between the recalls.

The investigation of the recalls is related to equipment from the company Mando, which supplies both Hyndudai and Kia.

The most recent happened in September when the two companies issued separate recalls for over 3.3 million vehicles combined. The automakers directed the owners of the defective vehicles to park outside and away from nearby structures in case the engine caught fire. Ten incidents of fire and melting were reported by Kia since 2017 and 42 such incidents were reported by Hyundai.

As a result of the recent autoworkers strike, Hyundai is one of a handful of foreign automakers who raised wages for American workers after a historic deal was reached between General Motors, Stellantis and Ford, and the United Auto Workers union. The three major automakers together employ around 145,000 union members and manufacture roughly half of all motor vehicles every year in the US.

Hyundai employees are expected to receive a 25% wage increase by 2028. The strike campaign, which kicked off on Sep. 15, lasted six weeks until a deal was finally reached. The tentative deal would increase wages immediately by 11% and then up to 25% over the course of a few years.

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