Kia recalls 377,000 SUVs to fix shift lever problem

(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
(AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

DETROIT (AP) — Kia will recall more than 377,000 Sorento SUVs in the U.S. because the transmission can be shifted out of park when the driver’s foot isn’t on the brake, a violation of safety laws.

The recall covers Sorentos from the 2011 through 2013 model years. The cars can roll away unexpectedly and cause a crash, Kia says in documents posted Thursday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The problem happens when the gear shift lever is pushed too hard, causing a part in the shifter to crack. It has caused three injuries.

Kia says it began investigating the trouble in August when it got a letter from a lawyer saying that a child moved a Sorento shift lever out of park and the SUV rolled in a parking lot. The child’s father stood in front of the SUV and was joined by his son. The son got between the Sorento and a stopped vehicle and suffered a broken leg, according to the documents.

Kia then began investigating and found 54 warranty claims. It decided to recall the SUVs on Sept. 28.

Dealers will replace the brake-shift interlock mechanism with improved parts. Owners will be notified starting Nov. 24.

Messages seeking comment were left Thursday morning for a Kia spokesman in California.

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