In a statement the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said, it has opened an “engineering analysis” which covers around 3 million vehicles to evaluate, among other things, the efficacy of recalls initiated by Kia Motors Corp and Hyundai Motor Co for over six years.
The development comes in the wake of 161 fires incidents in their models due to engine failures.
An engineering analysis is the next step in a process that could lead to a recall, although sometimes NHTSA closes such probes without requiring any action.
In 2019, the NHTSA had also opened an investigation covering the 2011-2014 Kia Optima and Sorento and the 2010-2015 Kia Soul, along with the 2011-2014 Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe to investigate instances of non-crash fires.
In a statement Kia and Hyundai said they continue to fully cooperate with NHTSA in regard to non-collision engine fires.
Both South Korean companies had agreed to pay a record $210 million in civil penalty in 2020 after regulators said had failed to recall 1.6 million vehicles for engine issues in a timely fashion.