Australian-market cars unaffected by the airbag controller issue
Kia has recalled 507,000 vehicles in North America, over concerns an electrical fault could stop their airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners working in an accident.
UPDATE, 13/06/2018: The story has been updated to clarify why no Australian cars are impacted.
The recall, according to a report in Automotive News, comes after a US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation into why four people were killed and six injured in accidents where Hyundai and Kia airbags didn't deploy.
Hyundai USA recalled 579,000 vehicles to rectify reports of airbag non-deployment because of 'electrical over stress in the airbag control unit'. The company acknowledged, according to the report, two deaths in its cars, although it noted both were high-speed head-on accidents.
The Kia recall, announced on Friday in the USA, includes the 2010-13 Forte (Cerato), 2011-13 Optima, 2011-12 Optima Hybrid and 2011-12 Sedona. A fix hasn't yet been identified, but Kia says it's working with the supplier – ZF Friedrichshafen – to resolve the issue.
In a statement last week, the supplier said its parts were built to Kia specifications, although it admitted to supplying technical support.
Although it supplies numerous other car manufacturers, ZF says each control unit is built to spec for the customer, so the issue doesn't necessarily impact all cars fitted with its parts.
Fiat Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles in the USA in 2016, after a similar issue caused airbags to not deploy in front-on accidents.
Kia Australia has confirmed only the North American market is impacted by the recall, and says no local cars are included. Affected vehicles were built in North America, for Canada and the USA, while our cars come from Korea.