Hyundai, Kia recall 1.4M vehicles; engines can fail

Hyundai's Ioniq hybrid car

Hyundai's Ioniq hybrid car

Hyundai Motor Co 005380.KS and Kia Motors Corp 000270.KS said on Friday they plan to recall almost 1.5 million vehicles in the United States and South Korea due to engine issues, the latest blow for two firms already struggling in key markets.

The affected vehicles include the 2013-2014 Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe Sport, 2011-2014 Kia Optima, 2012-2014 Kia Sorento and 2011-2013 Kia Sportage.

The engine subject to the potential recalls is Hyundai's Theta II GDI manufactured before August 2013.

The companies say that debris left from manufacturing can restrict oil flow to connecting rod bearings.

In January 2016, shortly after the original Hyundai recall, Kia began investigating on its own and subsequently found problems across its vehicle range.

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Hyundai and Kia are separately owned and operated, but have an alliance in the USA that includes a shared production facility in Alabama and some common components. They'll replace the block if needed at no cost.

From December 12, 2016 to March 23, 2017, Kia studied the risk of accidents or injuries if the vehicles aren't officially recalled and repaired, and made the decision to issue the recall. In September 2015, the automaker recalled cars equipped with Theta 2 engines in the U.S.as well, but it was also because of a different reason. In their home country, the auto manufacturers announced the recall of more than 170,000 vehicles due to the same engine issue.

"If their engines turn out to be faulty, Hyundai or Kia will replace them with engines that are problem-free". But claims started growing and by May 2016 the company extended warranties on the engines.

In a released statement by both companies, the defect is said to cause the affected vehicles to stall. The Hyundai spokesperson said the latest recall involved a new problem.