Owners of certain Hyundai and Kia products from the 2010s have really had a cursed existence since the pandemic started. It’s not every Hyundai or Kia owner who has to worry, of course, as many of those cars have merely been subjected to the ongoing minor recalls and Technical Service Bulletins that are part of the modern car ownership experience. I’m talking about the people in the Venn Diagram between easily pilfered cars and, now, potentially fiery ones.
Ok, we talked about Biden so we probably gotta talk about Trump’s UAW visit. Let’s try to do it in a way that keeps our comments civil and focused. If we can do that I shall reward you with an update from the Tesla Autopilot Lawsuit and some good news for people who like square SUVs.
Kia And Hyundai Recall Over 3 Million Cars
I got the above text from my dad yesterday and, for once, I could make sense of what he was saying (My dad is an inscrutable texter. Recent messages include: “Bring catrol pil” and “Jim Belushi at Local Roots” followed photo of my dad with Jim Belushi at what I assumed was a grocery store and definitely is not a grocery store). He was curious if his 170k+ mile Kia Soul+ was on the list for the most recent major Hyundai-Kia recall.
I have not, actually, gotten the VIN from my father, so I can’t say for sure that his car is impacted, but I’ve got a good feeling that it is. Here’s how hilarious it is to be an owner of a Kia Soul (or old Elantra).
For about the last 18 months my dad has been worried that some TikTok teen with a screwdriver and a USB drive was going to steal his car. My dad did what the police and common sense advised, and parked his car inside. Bad news dad, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
Hyundai Motor America and Kia America have issued “park outside” recalls for more than 3.3 million vehicles due to the risk of fire.
Until these recalled vehicles have been repaired, the manufacturers say the safest place to park them is outside and away from homes and other structures. Fires can occur whether the vehicle is parked and turned off or while driving.
Great. Let’s look at the list of cars:
Hyundai’s safety recall (NHTSA ID: 23V-651000) applies to the following vehicles and model years: 2012-2015 Accent, 2012-2015 Azera, 2011-2015 Elantra, 2013-2015 Elantra Coupe, 2014-2015 Equus, 2011-2015 Genesis Coupe, 2013-2015 Santa Fe, 2013 Santa Fe Sport, 2011-2015 Sonata HEV, 2010-2013 Tucson, 2015 Tucson Fuel Cell, 2012-2015 Veloster and 2010-2012 Veracruz.
Kia’s safety recall (NHTSA ID: 23V-652000) applies to the following vehicles and model years: 2014-2016 Cadenza, 2011-2013 Forte/Forte Koup, 2015-2017 K900, 2010-2015 Optima, 2011-2013 Optima Hybrid, 2011-2017 Rio, 2010 Rondo, 2011-2014 Sorento, 2011-2013 Soul and 2010-2013 Sportage.
Oh man, some absolute bangers in there. Kia Forte Koup! 2015 Hyundai Tuscon Fuel Cell! A freaking 2010 Kia Rondo!
The issue seems to stem from the ABS system used by Kia and Hyundai across a wide, random assortment of vehicles. The system can potentially leak brake fluid, causing a short and then a fire. No one has been killed, but numerous fires have been reported.
So what’s my dad to do? He can either take his Kia, which he bought new, and park it inside and potentially risk it catching on fire and burning his house down. Or he can park it outside and wait for some teen to steal it.
Donald Trump Sort Of Talks To The UAW
I’m going to talk about the content of what former President Donald Trump had to say about the ongoing UAW strike, then the setting, and a little bit about the politics of it. As best as anyone can tell, Trump is still the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, though I’m sure the Chris Christiementum is coming any day now (Touches earpiece: I’m hearing now that Christiementum is not a thing and will never be a thing.)
What he says about the strikes is important because, in theory, it sets the tone for the debate. And, on its face, there’s a logic to it (This version of the speech I found has the perfect YouTube thumbnail because if you hate Donald Trump or love Donald Trump the word “unbelievable” is enough to get you to click).
Here’s the point that Trump is making, via The Detroit News:
Trump, a former president who’s seeking to challenge current Democratic President Joe Biden next year, made the comments during a speech at Drake Enterprises, a parts supplier in Clinton Township. Amid a historic strike by the United Auto Workers against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, Trump said: “Your current negotiations don’t mean as much as you think.”
Trump argued that regardless of the outcome of the strike, the bigger threat to employees was the shift to electric cars and trucks, which he described as a “hit job” on Michigan and Detroit.
He told workers to reach out to Shawn Fain, president of the UAW, and tell him if the union backs Trump, Fain could take a vacation and they would better off than they ever were. Trump later characterized the transition from gas engines to electric vehicles as “a transition to hell,” a phrase he has repeated on the campaign trail this year.
“The auto industry is being assassinated,” Trump said. “If you want to buy an electric car, that’s absolutely fine. I’m all for it. But we should not be forcing consumers to buy electric vehicles they don’t want to buy.”
Those are the coherent parts, at least. I’m not sure that the transition to electric cars is a transition “to hell,” but it is somewhat hellacious for carmakers. If it turns out that people don’t want electric cars and demand softens, it’s possible that we’ve radically altered our manufacturing prematurely. The counter-argument, of course, is that it was always going to be chicken-and-egg and, even if American consumers aren’t going to immediately jump into EVs, we’ve effectively secured battery production for all sorts of markets outside of America and can better serve our own market. Still, it’s not an entirely unreasonable view.
That’s what he said. Let’s look at the actual theatrics and setting of this. In theory, this was an address for the UAW, but the UAW officially wanted nothing to do with it and it happened at a non-unionized supplier facility.
Still, the UAW has a lot of people in places like Ohio, that Trump won twice, and has plenty of members that do like Donald Trump. According to this NBC News report on the speech, not a lot of them showed up:
“[H]ardly any striking workers were on hand.
“There are a few strikers here, yes,” said Brian Pannebecker, a former local autoworker who organizes an Auto Workers for Trump Facebook page and helped shore up attendees for the event. “I don’t know where they’re at. But there are several — a handful.”
One of the striking UAW members on hand, Scott Malefant, concurred.
“I haven’t seen anybody yet,” Malefant, wearing a Make America Great Again hat, said as he waited for Trump to arrive. “I’m sure there might be a few.”
The UAW’s current leadership has made it clear that they don’t like Trump and don’t want him to be president, though they’re doing him the favor of thus far not endorsing President Biden.
The Tesla Autopilot Trial Starts Today
The details of the crash that led to the trial today in San Francisco over Tesla’s “Autopilot” system are pretty terrible. A Tesla Model 3 driving on a Los Angeles highway suddenly leaves said highway, hits a tree, and catches on fire. The driver dies, one passenger is seriously injured, and another, a child, is disemboweled. It’s pretty bad.
Tesla is expected to argue that it’s unclear if Autopilot was engaged and that the driver had consumed alcohol prior to the accident. The attorneys representing Lee will likely argue that Autopilot is defective and that Telsa knew it.
Tesla has been testing and rolling out its Autopilot and more advanced Full Self-Driving (FSD) system, which Chief Executive Elon Musk has touted as crucial to his company’s future but which has drawn regulatory and legal scrutiny.
Tesla won a bellwether trial in Los Angeles in April with a strategy of saying that it tells drivers that its technology requires human monitoring, despite the “Autopilot” name. A Model S swerved into a curb in 2019 and injured its driver, and jurors told Reuters after the verdict that they believed Tesla warned drivers about its system and that driver distraction was to blame.
If Tesla wins another case, especially one with a death involved, it might discourage others from pursuing legal action against the company over Autopilot claims.
The Grenadier SUV Will Go On Sale In The US In November
The Ineos Grenadier is an extremely capable British SUV. It looks like a modern Land Rover Defender and sounds like it was named after a character’s rank in an Evelyn Waugh war novel. Also, unlike so many cool European cars, you’ll soon be able to buy one in the United States.
Here’s the skinny from our pal Richard Truett over at Automotive News:
Nice! If you were curious, Ineos has to pay the Chicken Tax to import the cars into the country, but for something that’s not a huge volume car that seems fine for now (eventually, knockdown kits or other things will be considered). Prices range from $73,100 for the base model and go up from there.
The Big Question
Is the Ineos a good deal at $73,100? A Land Rover Defender S starts at $60,600, so we’re in the ballpark. It’s not as nice, but it’s definitely more old-school.
Photos: Tesla, Kia, David Tracy
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