Kia named in class action lawsuit over defective gas tanks

Kia Motors

The class action lawsuit names Kia Motors America, Inc. and Kia Motors Corporation and is brought on behalf of a Class of all persons who purchased, leased and/or currently own or lease a Kia vehicle model that (i) has a gas tank that is either not connected to the underside of the vehicle with reinforcing straps or is not protected by a whole-tank shield, or (ii) has a plastic fuel pump service cover that is accessible from the passenger compartment of the car (hereinafter “Defective Vehicles”).

As alleged in the complaint, the gas tank is located immediately underneath the rear passenger seats and forward of the cargo area and is not sufficiently protected.  Locating the tank under the rear passenger seats poses a danger to occupants of the rear seats, and, for this reason, the gas tank must either be shielded or attached to the underside of the vehicle with reinforcing straps. However, the gas tank in the defective vehicles is unshielded, and the gas tank is bolted to the vehicle underbody instead of being strapped. Failure to use straps, as most auto manufacturers do, increases the risk that the gas tank will shift or dislodge and ignite in a major collision.

As further alleged, the service cover for the fuel pump is plastic and is located immediately underneath the rear seat cushion. It is unreasonably dangerous to locate the fuel pump here and use a plastic service cover, particularly given the other gas tank defects referenced immediately above. This location, coupled with the use of a plastic instead of a metal fuel pump service cover, increases the likelihood that, in a major collision, fire will penetrate the rear cabin through the plastic service cover like a “blow torch.”

The complaint claims that the gas tank defects make the defective vehicles unreasonably dangerous. Because of the foregoing gas tank defects, passengers sitting in the rear seats in defective vehicles are sitting atop veritable gas bombs that, in a major collision, have the propensity to explode and immediately engulf rear occupants in flames.

The gas tank defects present a significant and unreasonable safety risk exposing defective vehicle owners and their passengers to a risk of serious injury or death.

Plaintiffs and the Class have been damaged by Kia’s misrepresentations, concealment and non-disclosure of the gas tank defects in the Defective Vehicles, and because they were misled into purchasing or leasing vehicles of a quality different than they were promised, and paid more for the vehicles than they would have had the gas tank defects been disclosed.

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