By Justin Kayiranga
On February 8, 2022, CNN news published a story calling on owners of nearly 500,000 vehicles to park outside due to fire risk.
The story stated that “Hyundai and KIA were calling on owners of almost 500,000 cars and SUVs in the United States to park outside and away from buildings due to a possible defect that can cause the vehicles to spontaneously catch fire even when not running.”
“The problem is that, due to “foreign contaminants,” the anti-lock brake computer control module can short circuit and possibly start a fire in the engine compartment. Hyundai issued a recall for 2016-2018 model year Santa Fe SUVs, 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport SUVs, 2019 Santa Fe XL models and 2014-2015 Tucson SUVs. Kia is recalling 2016-2018 K900 sedans and 2014-2016 Sportage SUVs. In total, Hyundai is recallng 357,830 vehicles while Kia is recalling 126,747.”
In Rwanda, Hyundai and KIA are among emerging vehicle brand with a day to day increase of numbers on the streets of Kigali and upcountry, and Hyundai itself has got a distribution office in Kigali. Apart from the Hyundai distribution office in Rwanda, there are also a big number of companies that import Korean Used cars namely Hyundai and KIA.
Speaking to Top Africa News, Kevin Ndahinyuka, the marketing manager at Hyundai Rwanda said that the CNN report does not concern car owners in Africa because “The issue is only for the cars manufactured in America and note that all 500,000 cars, as mentioned in the story, have been tracked down. So, Africa and Middle East region are not concerned with that fire risk”
Rwanda National Police through its Automobile Inspection Center also said that yet they didn’t notice any issue related to CNN’s report. ACP Munana Aloys, Speaking to TOP AFRICA NEWS, said that “So far we didn’t have such case related to that issue”
Though the above sources show no doubts on Hyundai and KIA cars, anonymous source from Rwanda Revenue Authority-customs department, revealed that the owners of cars mentioned in the report should pay attention to the issue as there are some used cars that are imported and the truth is that they don’t check the real origin of the car.
The source said “It’s better for the owners to check the real origin if their car is among the cars mentioned in the report as for us, we don’t check the origin where the car was manufactured”
“There is a way of checking the origin by using VIN decoder and get all detail related to the car”
We have not been able to find the exact data related to vehicles, according to the report, which are currently registered in Rwanda.
On another side, there are speculations saying that the issue is based on technology conflicts between automakers from both South Korea and United States, as the Korean technology seems to be advanced compared to the US.
South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia are closely related. Hyundai Motor Group, Hyundai’s parent company, owns a controlling interest in Kia, and the two companies share a lot of engineering in their various models. In the United States, however, they operate as two entirely separate companies.