WASHINGTON — The Senate Commerce Committee said on Thursday that a hearing planned for Nov. 14 on reports of engine fires involving Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp vehicles was on hold, but could be rescheduled for a future date.
Last month, the committee invited the U.S. chief executives of the two Korean automakers after safety advocates raised concerns about fires in vehicles not involved in collisions.
The nonprofit consumer advocacy group Center for Auto Safety said last month 103 fire complaints had been filed with U.S. safety regulators since June 12 and urged an immediate recall of nearly 3 million vehicles.
“While the committee does not anticipate convening a hearing on vehicle fire safety next week as previously contemplated, discussions among the committee and two auto manufacturers about participation at a future date remain ongoing,” Frederick Hill, a spokesman for Sen. John Thune who chairs the Commerce Committee, said Thursday.
Hyundai and Kia both said they had cooperated with Senate Committee staff on the issue and NHTSA in its ongoing investigation.
Kia said in a statement that “to quickly and effectively address non-collision fire incidents, [the company] is using in-house and third-party fire-investigation companies and has engaged an independent senior fire expert to evaluate the results of such fire event investigations.”
The company has consulted with Frank Borris, who until 2016 headed the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation “to evaluate the organization’s response to these incidents,” Kia said.
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