Kia America Inc. is recalling more than 188,000 K5 midsize sedans in the US due to incorrectly installed side curtain airbags. The cars in question are from the 2021-23 model years and were previously called the Optima. The rebranding occurred in 2021, with the K5 name being adopted. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed that no injuries have been reported as a result of the issue. While investigating the steering assist on a 2021 K5 involved in a crash, the Kia North America Safety Office detected an issue with the driver’s side curtain airbag. An inspection revealed that the airbags were installed incorrectly at a Georgia facility, according to documents.
Owners of affected vehicles will receive letters by April 7th. NHTSA confirmed that affected dealerships will inspect and reinstall the side curtain airbags as necessary or reimburse owners for previous repairs. It is unclear whether cars outside of the U.S. are affected.
Kia is known for producing high-quality vehicles, so this recall is likely to come as a surprise to many. The Korean automaker has grown its market share in North America substantially in recent years. In 2020, the company’s sales grew by around 4%, despite the pandemic’s adverse effects on the economy. The recall could result in a temporary dip in consumer confidence, but it’s unlikely to have a lasting impact on Kia’s reputation.
While safety recalls are relatively common in the automotive industry, it’s essential for automakers to handle them promptly and transparently. Kia has recognized the issue and acted to address it promptly. By doing so, the company can maintain consumers’ trust in its vehicles and brand. If mishandled, recalls can have a more significant negative impact on a company’s reputation, ultimately leading to long-term financial losses.
In conclusion, Kia is recalling more than 188,000 K5 midsize sedans in the U.S. over improperly installed side curtain airbags. Despite the recall causing no reported injuries to date, the company has acknowledged the issue and is taking steps to address it. Affected vehicle owners will receive letters and be able to have their side curtain airbags inspected and reinstalled where necessary or reimbursed for prior repairs. While the recall may temporarily impact consumer confidence in the brand, Kia’s proactive response is likely to prevent any long-term damage to its reputation.