October 19, 2020 – Lawsuit Filed, Investigation Closed
Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to this investigation. At this point, attorneys working with ClassAction.org believe they have what they need to go after Kia and Hyundai in court. In fact, at least one class action lawsuit has been filed over the 1.6-liter Gamma engine and is moving forward. Any updates to the case will be posted to this page, so check back for updates or sign up for our newsletter for the latest. (Keep in mind, there’s generally nothing you need to do to “join” a class action lawsuit.) Our open list of investigations can be found here.
At A Glance
This Alert Affects:
Anyone who owns certain 2016-2020 Hyundai or Kia vehicles and experienced an engine or car fire.
What’s Going On?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are looking into whether a class action lawsuit can be filed against Hyundai and Kia and need to speak to people who had their cars catch fire to help with their investigation.
What Vehicle Models Are Under Investigation?
Attorneys are specifically looking into the 2016-2020 Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Elantra, Hyundai Veloster, Kia Rio, Kia Seltos, and Kia Sportage vehicles with a 1.4- or 1.6-liter “Gamma” engine.
How Could a Lawsuit Help?
A class action could help drivers who lost their cars or suffered a loss in value, as well as force the automakers to recall the vehicles and offer a suitable fix.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org would like to speak to drivers who own or owned any of the following vehicles – model years 2016 through 2020 – and experienced a car fire:
The attorneys are looking into whether a defect is causing the vehicles’ 1.4- and 1.6-liter “Gamma” engines to catch fire and, if so, whether a class action lawsuit can be filed.
What Could Be Causing the Engines to Catch Fire?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are looking into whether the models above suffer the same issue that prompted a 2019 recall of 378,000 Kia Soul vehicles with the 1.6-liter gasoline direct injection engine.
The recall stated that high exhaust gas temperatures could cause damage to the catalytic converter, which could lead to abnormal engine combustion and damage to the engine pistons. Should a piston rod break and puncture the engine block, the recall says, oil could leak and put the car at risk for a fire.
Attorneys suspect that the engine in the recalled Kia Soul vehicles may be the same Gamma engine found in the vehicles listed above.
NHTSA Receives Complaints Following Kia Sportage, Hyundai Kona Fires
Below are two complaints [sic throughout] from the National Highway Traffic Administration’s website regarding fires in a 2016 Kia Sportage and 2018 Hyundai Kona.
MY HUSBAND AND I WERE DRIVING OUR 2016 KIA SPORTAGE THAT WE HAD BOUGHT ON 05/23/2018 (JUST MADE THE FIRST PAYMENT THE DAY BEFORE) TO MYRTLE BEACH SC, WE HEARD A POP, I LOST FUNCTION TO THE GAS, PULLED TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND POPPED THE HOOD TO FIND FIRE FLAMES COMING FROM THE ENGINE. WE GRABBED WHAT WE COULD OUT OF OUR CAR AND RAN AS FAR AWAY AS WE COULD. IT WASN'T EVEN 2 MINUTES LATER AND THE WHOLE CAR WAS IN FLAMES AND EVERYTHING WAS DESTROYED. ALL THAT WAS LEFT WAS THE FRAME OF THE CAR. WE JUST GOT MARRIED IN OCTOBER OF 2017, THIS WAS OUR FIRST MARRIED PURCHASE AND WAS SUPPOSE TO BE OUR FAMILY CAR AND WE WATCHED IT BURN TO THE GROUND IN FRONT OF US. WE ALSO LOST A LOT OF VALUABLES IN THE FIRE.” — NHTSA ID Number: 11209271
WAS DRIVING HYUNDAI KONA DOWN THE FREEWAY. I SMELLED A BURNING SMELL, I SAW THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT BLINK ONCE. THE CAR WENT INTO LIMP MODE AND I STARTED PULLING OVER TO THE SHOULDER. STOPPING ON THE SHOULDER, I NOTICED SMOKE COMING FROM UNDERNEATH THE HOOD. I EVACUATED THE CAR AND WITHIN A FEW MINUTES, FLAMES WERE PRESENT. IT WAS BETWEEN 2-3 MILES START TO FINISH.” — NHTSA ID Number: 11300596
How Could a Class Action Lawsuit Help?
A class action lawsuit could help drivers recover compensation for damage done to their vehicles, as well as loss of value of the cars. It could also force the automakers to issue a recall and find a fix for the problem.
Multiple class action lawsuits have already been filed over issues with another engine known as the Theta; however, attorneys suspect that additional cases could, and perhaps should, be brought against Hyundai and Kia over possible issues with the Gamma engines to help ensure those owners are effectively represented.