Hyundai is the subject of a class action lawsuit involving a potential fire hazard, with a sister brand Kia will also face the same suit.
Lawyer Maurice Blackburn brought a class action against Hyundai to the Supreme Court of Victoria, seeking compensation for owners of vehicles with faulty anti-lock braking systems.
Vehicles with this issue have already been the subject of a recall by the company, with Hyundai saying in its recall notice that the ABS module’s circuit board may short-circuit when its components are exposed to moisture.
This in turn can cause a fire, even when the vehicle is turned off, even if it does not affect the function of the brake system.
In the recall notice, Hyundai advises owners to park their vehicles outside in an open area and away from flammable materials and structures until the recall can be carried out.
Lead plaintiff Anne-Maree Johnston’s vehicle caught fire in her garage, located directly below her bedroom. He was able to put out the fire before it engulfed his home.
“It could be a deadly disaster. We were very lucky to notice smoke coming into the house from the garage. If we hadn’t caught it early, the whole house would almost certainly have gone up,” Ms Johnston said.
The class action involves the following vehicles:
The law firm also notes 124 affected vehicles across the Genesis G70 and G80 lineup, while Kia’s proposed class action involves nearly 58,000 Sportage and Stinger models manufactured between 2016 and 2019.
“This is a serious defect affecting hundreds of thousands of vehicles with potentially catastrophic consequences for vehicle owners and the public,” said Andrew Watson, head of national class actions for Maurice Blackburn.
“Consumers expect the vehicle they buy to be safe to drive, safe to park in their garage and free from defects that could result in loss of life.
“Hyundai and Kia have failed to live up to those expectations and must be held accountable for putting unsafe vehicles on the road.”
Hyundai Australia provided the following statement:
“Hyundai Motor Australia puts the safety of our customers first. 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 by the class action but will consider the allegations carefully before commenting further”.
“We are aware of the proposed class action by Attorney Maurice Blackburn. However, we have not received any official notification on the matter and therefore we will not be making any further comment at this time,” said a Kia Australia spokesperson.
Hyundai and Kia owners can register for a 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 is asking owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles with 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engines manufactured between 2009 and 2019 to contact them if they experience separate mechanical problems.
The issue centers on premature wear and tear on the connecting rod bearings, caused by lingering metal chips produced by factory machining. Rough surfaces block oil flow, causing damage and engine symptoms such as engine knocking and seizing, and even fires.