Hyundai is the subject of a class action lawsuit involving a potential fire hazard, with sister brand Kia also set to face a similar suit.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers lodged the class action against Hyundai with the Supreme Court of Victoria, seeking compensation payments for owners of vehicles with defective anti-lock braking systems.
Vehicles with this issue have already been the subject of recalls by the company, with Hyundai saying in its recall notices the ABS module’s circuit board may short-circuit when its components are exposed to moisture.
This can in turn lead to a fire, even when the vehicle is off, though it doesn’t affect the functioning of the brake system.
In its recall notices, Hyundai advised owners to park their vehicles outside in an open space and away from flammable materials and structures until the recall action could be performed.
Lead plaintiff Anne-Maree Johnston’s vehicle caught fire in her garage, situated directly below her bedroom. She was able to extinguish the fire before it engulfed her home.
“It could have been a fatal disaster. We were very lucky to have noticed smoke coming into the house from the garage. Had we not caught it early, it’s almost certain the whole house would have gone up,” said Ms Johnston.
The class action involves the following vehicles:
- 2014-15 Hyundai ix35: 19,541 vehicles
- 2014-20 Hyundai Tucson: almost 94,000 vehicles
- 2015-18 Hyundai Santa Fe: 21,943 vehicles
- 2014-17 Hyundai Genesis: 1200 vehicles
The law firm also notes 124 vehicles affected across the Genesis G70 and G80 lines, while its proposed Kia class action involves almost 58,000 Sportage and Stinger models manufactured between 2016 and 2019.
“This is a serious defect impacting hundreds of thousands of vehicles with potentially catastrophic consequences for vehicle owners and bystanders,” said Andrew Watson, national head of class actions for Maurice Blackburn.
“Consumers expect that the vehicles they purchase will be safe to drive, safe to park in their garage, and free from defects which could result in the loss of life.
“Hyundai and Kia have failed to meet those expectations and must be held to account for putting unsafe vehicles on the road.”
Hyundai Australia provided the following statement:
“Hyundai Motor Company Australia prioritises the safety of our customers. We take the safety and reliability of our vehicles seriously.
“We have always and will continue to stand by our products by providing our customers with the support they need. We are disappointed about the class action but will consider the allegations carefully before commenting further”.
“We are aware of a proposed class action by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. However, we have not received any official notification on the matter and as such we will not be making any further comment at this time,” said a spokesperson for Kia Australia.
Hyundai and Kia owners can register for the class action at ABSDefect@mauriceblackburn.com.au
Last July, another law firm announced it was considering a class action against Hyundai and Kia.
Bannister Law asked owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles with 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engines produced between 2009 and 2019 to get in contact if they experienced a separate mechanical issue.
The issue centres around premature wear and tear to the connecting rod bearings, caused by lingering metal debris generated by factory machining. The rough surface restricts oil flow, causing engine damage and symptoms such as engine knocking and seizing, and even fire.