• Hyundai Elantra

Prior to this week, the recall news had been relatively tame for Hyundai, as the Korean automobile manufacturer had only announced the recall of approximately 6,100 Veloster coupes. That was, of course, an expansion of a late 2012 recall spurred by reports of the vehicles’ trademark panoramic sunroofs cracking and breaking, so 2013 had been looking rather bright for Hyundai and Kia. Unfortunately, that all came to an end this week with the recall of more than 1.8 million vehicles throughout the United States.

In three separate campaigns, Hyundai will recall approximately 1.06 million automobiles over electrical concerns and an additional 186,254 cars for airbag problems, while Kia will recall 623,000 vehicles for the same electrical issues. In regard to the larger recall, Hyundai and Kia, which operate independently of each other but are ultimately controlled by the same Korean company, have issued the recall of several popular models because of a complicated series of defects and problems with the electrical system that includes the push-button engine ignition.

According to the Detroit News, Hyundai officials declared that the “condition could potentially result in intermittent operation of the push-button start feature, intermittent ability to remove the vehicle’s shifter from the park position, illumination of the ‘ESC’ (Electronic Stability Control) indicator lamp in the instrument cluster, intermittent interference with operation of the cruise control feature, or intermittent operation of the stop lamps.”

Each of those issues raises the concern for accident and injury, as any interference during the vehicle’s operation could result in the driver becoming distracted, and should the vehicle’s gear shift unexpectedly move from the park position, the vehicle could begin moving and cause injuries not only to anyone in the vehicle, but also other drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Involved in this recall campaign are the 2007-09 Accent, 2007-10 Elantra, 2010-2011 Genesis Coupe, 2007-11 Santa Fe, 2011 Sonata, 2007-09 Tucson and 2008-09 Veracruz, while the Kia vehicles being recalled include the 2007-10 Rondo, 2007 Sedona, 2011 Optima, 2007-11 Sorento, 2010-11 Soul, and 2007-10 Sportage.

In the second Hyundai campaign, as many as 186,254 Hyundai Elantras with model years between 2011 and 2013 are being recalled because of a potentially defective support bracket on the headliner that could become displaced when the side curtain airbag is deployed. One report of injury prompted this specific recall, as the clip caused a laceration on the driver’s ear when the airbag deployed.

In regard to each recall campaign, both Hyundai and Kia are expected to begin contacting vehicle owners in the next few months to schedule free repairs and install replacement parts as necessary. In the meantime, Hyundai owners can contact the company at (800) 633-5151 while Kia owners can call (800) 333-4542 for additional information.