U.S. Probes Air Bag Failures In Hyundai, Kia Car Crashes

The U.S. has launched a probe into faulty air bags in certain Hyundai Motor Co. (HYMLF.OB) and Kia Motors Corp. (KIMTF.PK) vehicles that failed to deploy after crashes in which four people were killed and another six injured.

The National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA said it is investigating problems related to the faulty airbags that affect an estimated 425,000 2012-2013 Kia Forte and 2011 Hyundai Sonata cars. The agency is also investigating whether vehicles made by other carmakers used similar air bag control units and if they may be at risk.

The NHTSA noted that failure of the air bag control unit may prevent the frontal air bags from deploying in the event of a crash.It is currently aware of six crashes with significant collision-related damage events involving Hyundai and Kia models, where the air bags failed to deploy in frontal crashes.

Four such crashes involved Hyundai Sonata cars and two others involved Kia Fortes cars. The Forte crash occurred in Canada and the Forte was a Canadian market vehicle. All six crashes were reported to the NHTSA between 2012 and 2017.

According to the NHTSA, Hyundai has indicated that post-collision inspections of the air bag control units or ACUs showed that an electrical overstress condition of an ACU electronic component occurred in three of the crashes, while the fourth ACU is under evaluation for the same concern.

However, Hyundai has not identified a remedy for this recall and has stated it was investigating the cause of the electrical overstress with the product supplier, ZF-TRW.

The NHTSA said it “will determine if any other vehicle manufacturers used the same or similar airbag control units, as supplied by ZF-TRW, and if so, evaluate whether the field experience of these vehicles indicates potentially related crash events.”

by RTT Staff Writer

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