This isn't ideal at a time when Hyundai and Kia sales are slumping in the US and China.
Last year, Hyundai and Kia launched one of its biggest recall campaigns in the US affecting nearly 1.7 million vehicles. Originally, 470,000 examples of the 2011-2012 Sonata sedan were recalled as leftover debris from the manufacturing process could affect the vehicles' engines and cause it to stall, thus increasing the risk of a crash. This recall was later expanded to 572,000 vehicles in 2017, including the 2013-2014 Sonata and Santa Fe Sport. Kia also recalled around 618,000 examples of the 2011-2014 Optima, 2012-2014 Sorento and 2011-2013 Sportage since it has the same engine.
Hyundai and Kia could have done more to rectify the issue, however, as according to Reuters both automakers are now facing a criminal investigation to determine if the recall was done correctly. In addition to the probe by US prosecutors, Hyundai and Kia are also being investigated by the NHTSA to determine if more vehicles should have been recalled and if the recall was actioned promptly enough. If prosecuted, Hyundai and Kia could face huge fines.
An investigation by US prosecutors could not have come at a worse time, as Hyundai and Kia are struggling to recover from slow sales in the US and China. Hopefully, the arrival of the Hyundai Palisade SUV will help boost sales, but the recalls have already cost Hyundai and Kia around $885 million.