Penalty handed for failing to issue a recall in a timely fashion.
Recall involved 1.6 million vehicles with known engine failures.
Hyundai and Kia were under the microscope for a few years as complaints pertaining to faulty 4-cylinder engines dating as far back as 2011. Following a three year probe, the NHTSA has fined both Korean automakers (both under the Hyundai Group) a record fine of $210 million.
The fine breaks down in the following ways, according to Reuters. Hyundai has agreed to a total civil penalty of $140 million, including an upfront payment of $54 million. They will also be obligated to spend $40 million on safety performance measures in the form of a safety field test and inspection laboratory and implementing new IT systems to better analyze safety data. Should these efforts not meet the requirement, an additional $46 million deferred penalty will be added.
Meanwhile, Kia’s civil penalty totals $70 million, which includes an upfront payment of $27 million. They too will have to spend on specified safety measures to the tune of $16 million. Their deferred penalty is a further potential $27 million.
“It’s critical that manufacturers appropriately recognize the urgency of their safety recall responsibilities and provide timely and candid information to the agency about all safety issues,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens.
There are other ongoing investigations into Hyundai and Kia vehicles involving non-crash fires. The recalled engines suffered (and continue) from manufacturing debris that could restrict oil flow to connecting rod bearings. The bearings would then wear out and fail, potentially causing them to catch fire. The repair involved an engine block replacement.