Kia Announces Massive Recall, Nearly 260k Optima Sedans Affected

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Hyundai's sister brand Kia is calling back precisely 257,998 vehicles produced for the 2012 and 2013 model years. The right and left headliner plates may not have been secured properly at the factory, resulting in the headliner plates detaching during side curtain airbag deployment.
The chronology begins on May 9th, when the South Korean automaker’s North American office was hit by a lawsuit alleging a metal bracket injuring the driver during the deployment of the side curtain airbag. The car in question is a MY2012 Optima equipped with a panoramic sunroof.

From May 12th until June 16th, the legal department worked with the safety office and the plaintiff’s counsel to schedule an inspection of the vehicle. Come June 29th, safety engineers located the driver-side plate in the occupant department, concluding that it had detached during deployment.

HQ was informed of the findings on July 7th, prompting the South Korean office to investigate the issue. Not long after that, the safety boffins from Kia’s headquarters identified insufficient adhesive on the headliner plate.

They also noted that cars equipped without a panoramic sunroof may be potentially affected. HQ further told NA that South Korea-spec vehicles have a different supplier and different adhesive application process for the headliner plates compared to the American Optimas produced in Georgia.

Last, but certainly not least, headquarters failed to identify any similar incidents outside of the United States. Given these circumstances, the North American branch didn’t have a choice but to recall 260k vehicles.

Affected Optimas were manufactured between August 12th, 2011 and September 27th, 2013 as per the attached report. Filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the document further states that all known owners will be notified by mail from September 26th to the 30th.

Dealers will be instructed on September 22nd to “add an industrial-grade adhesive tape over the left and right headliner plates to further secure the plates to the headliner.” The industrial-grade adhesive plate “was applied to the headliner plates at the start of the 2014MY Optima production.” In other words, Kia may be aware of this problem for a pretty long time now.
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 Download: Kia Optima headliner plate recall (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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