Kia Motors America is recalling more than 72,000 Rio subcompact cars because the passenger side occupant sensor can fail with the possibility that a child could be hurt if the airbag deploys. Model year 2006-2008 cars are affected by the safety defect although no injuries have been reported.
When the sensor fails, it illuminates airbag light on the instrument panel. More than 9,000 warranty claims going back to 2006 have been reported. Kia said in the required filing with NHTSA that its Korean parent company had repeatedly said that no recall was needed. NHTSA had flagged the issue because of the rising number of warranty claims.
Kia will notify owners, and dealers will replace the seat sensor mat, free of charge as is required by NHTSA regulations. The recall is expected to begin during July 2012. owners may contact Kia consumer assistance center at 1-800-333-4542 about Kia’s safety recall SC097. Customers can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov.