United States probes air bag failures in deadly Hyundai, Kia auto crashes

United States probes air bag failures in deadly Hyundai, Kia auto crashes

The US has launched a probe into faulty air bags in certain Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp vehicles that failed to deploy after crashes in which four people were killed and another six injured.

The administration's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) "is now aware of six crashes with significant collision-related damage events involving Hyundai and Kia models where airbags failed to deploy in frontal crashes", which four people died and six were hurt, its website said. Hyundai on February 27 recalled 155,000 Sonatas due to airbag issues, and the NHTSA believes Kia used similar ZF-TRW products in its Fortes.

The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is now aware of six crashes with significant collision related damage events involving Hyundai and Kia models where air bags failed to deploy in frontal crashes.

At the time of announcing the Sonata recall, Hyundai said in NHTSA documents it was aware of four incidents related to the recall, and that was still investigating the fourth incident.

The NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation will be looking into whether the scope of Hyundai's recall was appropriate, whether the Kia vehicles in question in fact used the same or similar air bag control units and what led the air bag control units to malfunction.

Hyundai spokesperson Jim Trainor said dealers will consider offering a loaner vehicle to people until the issue can be repaired. Trainor stated the automaker is collaborating with NHTSA in the investigation, and that it has not observed any concerns with any vehicle except from the 2011 Sonata. The company added that it "has not confirmed any air bag non-deployments arising from the potential chip issue". NHTSA said in 2014 that Hyundai "must change the way they deal with safety-related defects".

The investigation launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to raise the number of vehicles that Hyundai might have to recall.

Hyundai acquired part of Kia after Kia filed for bankruptcy in 2007.

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