Kia is set to recall nearly 258,000 units of its 2012-2013 model-year Optima sedan to address an issue with the headliner. In a collision, parts of it could break off and become projectiles inside.
The recall affects all 2012 and 2013 Optima vehicles manufactured at Kia's U.S. plant in Georgia between August 2011 and September 2013.
“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 defect report
Unlike the plastic panels that cover the upper portions of the cabin, the plates are part of the Optima's crash structure and must remain attached to prevent additional risk in a crash. Kia became aware of the problem when a lawsuit was filed earlier this year. An owner claimed they were injured by a bracket that detached from the vehicle's structure after an airbag deployed.
Kia says vehicles produced in Korea for other markets are sourced from another supplier with procedures that better secure components to the body; no incidents have been reported outside the United States.