Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Hyundai claims car fire in 2010 found no technical fault of the vehicle could account for the incident.

A fire gutted 2010 Hyundai Elantra. Hyundai could find no technical cause 
for this fire according to their letter reproduced below.

More on the 2013 Hyundai Sonata fire. No comment yet from Hyundai Canada. Will they step up to the plate?

by Tom Thorne

It’s been several days and I have tried since last Friday to contact Hyundai Canada for a statement concerning the burnt out Sonata. The first email I sent to them received an automatic response reply which means I know they got it. 

Today I sent another email saying that my follow up story would be incomplete without a comment from Hyundai Canada or from their parent company in Korea. It’s my test to see how good they are dealing with difficult situations. So tomorrow who knows.

Silence seems to be the way many large corporations deal with problems such as this because they know that they could be held liable. The fact is they are liable and their  silence cannot change that. There is an obvious manufacturing negligence in this situation. No one can doubt that it happened. A senior manager at Hyundai should at least say they they are concerned and sorry.

Their warranties have nothing to do with catastrophic destruction of one of their cars by a spontaneous fire. This is not a warranty matter because it is a complete failure of their product after only 26,000 kilometres of driving. Any warranty is nullified by a burnt out hulk sitting in the snow in the wrecking company yard.  There is no fault on the part of the driver only in the manufacturing, sourcing and engineering of this product can be blamed.

The real question is how can any manufacturer of any product that fails at this catastrophic level say nothing? No amount of silence is going to correct it. No amount of shame however nicely expressed can fix this problem. At best any response is an apology knowing that despite an apology they remain clearly liable and accountable for a failed and very dangerous product. The only way to fix it is to ensure that it stops and never happens again. 

Initial compensation should be the entire insured amount paid by the customer for the car. Any losses such as an insurance deductible, loss of personal or school board property should be paid. A set of winter tires for the replacement vehicle in this case should be recovered. All of this would be a nice start. A kind of contrition that indicates concern for the customer’s well being.

And why not? Hyundai is liable for a giant manufacturing problem that could kill people and they need to correct their sourcing, engineering and how they assemble the car in the factory. In the meantime they need to get real and put their customers first despite any torts for negligence and class actions that may arise. That is a start of being accountable.

Below is the text of a letter provided to an owner of a Hyundai Elantra in 2011 destroyed by a fire. Carolyn (she has no last name apparently) representing the National Customer Connect office of Hyundai Motor America says “they can find no technical fault with the vehicle that accounts for the incident.” 

Surely a burnt out car can qualify as a “technical fault” by any standard.  The rest of this letter speaks for itself. The recipients of this letter refused the offer. That means litigation is needed to get Hyundai to step up to the accountability plate.

© Copyright 2014, Tom Thorne, All rights waved for a reblog.


  1. Typical response. She was likely an insurance claims agent in a previous life! They know that at every refusal or ridiculously low offer, a percentage of folks will give up and take their offer so in the end they only have to deal with a small number of claims - and those will contain a non-disclosure clause.

  2. My daughter's Sonata also caught fire and burned to the ground. She only had a few thousand miles on it and purchased the vehicle brand new. She had no previous problems. She was on the highway, it made a funny noise and she pulled over. If it wasn't for a passing trucker who stopped and yelled for her to get out of the car, the story could have been much worse! Hyundai is giving her the run around. What should she do? vap123@comcast.net

  3. What was the year of the car? I think from what I have learned that Hyundai never admits to anything and frankly even when there is a damning expert insurance report they ignore anything except a legal suit. They seem to rely on the fact that many of their former burnt out customers do not have sufficient resources to challenge them in court.