Last December 20, 2013, a Hyundai Santa Fe caught fire, destroying the front bumper. We contacted the owner (who wishes to remain private) as to the exact details about the incident involving her SUV.
The car in question is a 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe 4x2 2.2L CRDI R-eVGT, bought from Hyundai E. Rodriguez (HER – owned by Wheels, Inc.).
The owner took delivery of the car on the 26th of November, 2013 (11-26-2013). The first service occurred on the 19th of December, 2013 as part of the regular preventive maintenance (first 1000 km). The vehicle has not been modified in any way.
On the evening of the 20th of December, between 6:00 to 7:00 in the evening and while parked in front of their house, the husband of the owner noticed black smoke and a foul smell from the front of the car, and upon a quick glance, the front bumper was actually on fire.
After extinguishing the flames, the front bumper was gutted. The owner brought the vehicle to Hyundai E. Rodriguez (HER) to have the cause of the fire determined.
Below is the technical report prepared by Hyundai E. Rodriguez:
What is unusual is that Hyundai E. Rodriguez stated that the vehicle, particularly the electrical wiring around the bumper, was in good working order and lay the blame squarely on a mysterious external flame or heat source, and thus not covered by the warranty.
However, despite the alleged external flame source, the sockets of the foglamp bulbs (above) had melted independently of the actual fire in the middle of the bumper. So, is it an electrical fire or an external fire?
After handing her car over to the dealership for inspection, the owner says that dealership/service center is (1) refusing to have her meet a representative from the distributor, Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc., (2) refusing to relay the official technical report from HARI, and (3) saying that the owner should claim the damage with her Santa Fe's insurance company.
According to the owner, where it really gets fishy is that should the owner claim the repair of the car with her insurance, Hyundai E. Rodriguez/Wheels, Inc. is volunteering to “chip in” for the participation fee for her car. Unusual, isn't it?
New update: Close-up photos of the foglamps
Vehicle defect, dealer blunder or external flame source? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Presently, there is no legislation to protect customers from defective vehicles, nor is there one to protect manufacturers or dealers from false claims. Congress has recently filed a bill for the Philippine Lemon Law.