Kia Recalls EV9 Light Electric Crossovers for Inadequate Headliner Impact Protection

Kia EV9 10 photos
Photo: Kia / edited
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In production at Kia's West Point assembly plant in Georgia since May 2024, the EV9 has been hit with a safety recall comprising 2,401 units produced at the South Korean automaker's Gwangmyeong assembly plant. As it happens, the impact-absorbing plates mounted on the headliner may not offer sufficient protection in the event of a rollover or a crash.
The mothership in South Korea notified Kia America about said problem on May 25, informing the US division of a non-compliance issue identified during pre-production testing of the 2025 model year Kia EV9. From the documents filed by Kia America with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we also learn that 2025 production began at West Point on May 30, 2024.

Following this communication, the automaker looked over the available field data, which showed no instances of head injuries due to impacts against the headliner. Only the Light grade of the EV9 is affected, with Light standing for the entry-level specifications. Emphasis on the plural form of specification because the Light comes in two flavors (Light RWD and Light Long Range RWD).

Affected vehicles were produced in the period between September 25, 2023 and March 21, 2024 in South Korea, meaning that their 17-character VINs should start with the letter K. Those produced in the US of A feature VINs that kick off with 5.

Daehan Solution of South Korea is the supplier of the iffy headlining assembly. Dealers nationwide have been instructed to replace suspect plates with improved ones that meet the performance requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 201 for occupant protection in interior impacts. Kia claims that EV9 Light vehicles produced beginning July 11, 2024 are equipped with the new headlining impact-absorbing plates.

2024 Kia EV9
Photo: Kia
Owner notifications will be mailed no later than July 31, 2024. In case you're not sure if your EV9 Light is included in this recall, simply run the vehicle identification number on Kia's website. At press time, said website continues to list the 2024 model rather than the US-made 2025 Kia EV9.

With seating for up to seven peeps and a similar footprint to the V6-only Telluride, the EV9 is a very interesting alternative to gas-powered family crossovers. Highlight numbers further include up to 304 miles (489 kilometers) of range and 24 minutes of charging from 10 to 80 percent at 350 kW.

Gifted with more second-row legroom than the half-ton pickup truck-based Cadillac Escalade and 81.7 cubic feet (2,313 liters) of cargo capacity with the rear seats folded, the EV9 boasts up to 7.8 inches (198 millimeters) of ground clearance and can tow up to 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms).

Unfortunately, $54,900 before taxes and options is a hard sell because that's a helluva lot of money for something that bears the Kia badge. We also have to remember that the Telluride starts at $36,190 for the 2024 model year, meaning that you could almost buy a Nissan Versa with the $18,710 separating these family-oriented crossovers.
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 Download: Kia EV9 Light headliner plates 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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