Kia is recalling its 2012-2013 Optima sedan to address headliner panels that may not be adequately secured, allowing them to come free in a collision and become projectiles in the cabin. The recall covers every 2012-2013 model year Optima manufactured at Kia Georgia from August, 2011 through September, 2013, for a total of 257,998 units.
“The subject vehicles are equipped with headliner plates designed as part of the energy absorbing structure of the headliner. Under certain circumstances, the headliner plate(s) may detach from the headliner upon deployment of the side curtain airbag(s), increasing the risk of injury to an occupant,” Kia’s defect report said.
Unlike the plastic panels covering interior components along the sides of the upper vehicle cabin, these plates are part of the Optima’s crash structure and should remain secured to prevent additional hazards in the event of a crash. Kia was made aware of the issue when a lawsuit was filed earlier this year on behalf of an owner who claimed to have been injured by a bracket that detached from the structure of their vehicle when the airbag deployed.
Kia says vehicles produced in Korea for other markets source the components from a different supplier whose procedures better secure the components to the body; no incidents have been reported outside of the United States.