This includes all of the Optima models made in Georgia between late 2011 and late 2013
Parts of the headliner could detach upon deployment of the curtain airbags
In a recent accident, the driver was injured by a metal bracket and later sued the company
Kia is announcing a large-scale recall of every unit of the 2012 and 2013 model-year Kia Optima which were produced in Georgia due to an issue with the crash protection.
In those vehicles, the headliner plates which are designed to protect the driver and the front passenger’s head during a side impact could have been installed with insufficient adhesive.
This could allow the plates to detach from the headliner upon deployment of the curtain airbags, which could then allow the occupant’s head to come into contact with hard surfaces.
This recall was actually sparked by a traffic accident in which the driver was injured by a metal bracket due to the headliner plates falling off.
Upon review of the issue, Kia determined that every single Optima that was produced in Georgia between August 12, 2011 and September 27, 2013 could present this defect, which is why the automaker is recalling 257,998 vehicles in the United States.
In order to fix this problem and prevent the plates from coming undone, dealers are instructed to apply industrial-grade adhesive tape over the headliner plates in order to affix them more securely to the headliner.
This solution has actually been employed on 2014 model year and up Optima sedans right from the factory, which suggests that Kia might have known the earlier design was not as strong as it should have been.
Interestingly, the Optima models produced in South Korea for other world markets during the same time period used a different technique to attach the plates to the headliner and they are not subjected to this recall.
Since the affected vehicles are now nine or ten years old, most of them have been sold to subsequent owners and it might be more difficult for Kia to contact the current owners of each vehicle.
The owners that are in the automaker’s database will be notified by mail starting on September 26.