Kia and Hyundai recall nearly 2 million vehicles.

The New York Times (4/3, Jensen, 1.68M) reports in its “Wheels” blog, “Kia and its parent company Hyundai are recalling almost 1.9 million vehicles in three actions, according to reports posted on Wednesday on the Web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” The Times notes that “about 1.7 million of those vehicles – Hyundais and Kias – are involved in separate recalls for the same problem: a malfunctioning stop lamp switch.” According to the Times, “The automaker said the malfunction could set off a variety of faults, including the failure of the cruise control to disengage, failure of the brake light to illuminate, the ability to move the gear-shift lever out of Park without applying the brake and ‘the intermittent operation of the push-button start feature.'”

        USA Today (4/3, 1.71M) reports, “Separately, Hyundai is recalling about 194,000 of its 2011 to 2013 Elantra compacts to fix an air bag problem.” USA Today notes that “the air bag problem in the Elantra is that a support bracket can come loose when the side air bags are inflated and cause injuries. In April 2012, an Elantra owner told NHTSA investigators that a side air bag inflated in a crash and sliced the driver’s left ear.” According to USA Today, “NHTSA traced the problem to cars that had auto-dimming rear-view mirrors installed after arriving at U.S. ports. Technicians installing the mirrors could dislodge the bracket, the investigation found.”

        Also reporting on the recalls are Bloomberg News (4/4, Keane), Cars (4/3, Geiger), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (4/4, 263K), the Los Angeles Times (4/3, White, 692K), the Detroit Free Press (4/4, Spangler, 280K), Reuters (4/3), the Detroit News (4/3, Shepardson, 119K), the AP (4/4), CNN Money (4/3, Valdes-Dapena), and Fox Business (4/3, Rocco).

        Hyundai recall reveals risk of sharing parts. The Los Angeles Times (4/3, White, 692K) reports, “When Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate, Kia Motors Corp., announced Wednesday that they were conducting a massive recall of 1.7 million vehicles, it was a sign of what can go wrong when parts are shared by many vehicle models.” The Times notes that “since the recession, according to automotive industry analysts, more and more manufacturers have turned to the economies of scale involved in having fewer vehicle platforms and more interchangeable parts and components.” While shared parts can simplify production and reduct costs, when there are defects “according to Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, that advantage quickly turns into a recall that is much larger than it might have been years ago.”