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U.S. may add Hyundai Motor to safety probe

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Published : 2014-06-20 19:41
Updated : 2014-06-20 19:41

U.S. safety regulators are considering reviewing all major automakers, including Korea’s Hyundai Motor, for air bag and ignition switch problems following the recent massive recalls from General Motors.

On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened new investigations into Chrysler to evaluate problems with ignition systems and the failure of air bags to deploy in crashes.

The agency said in a statement that it “examined all major manufacturers’ strategies as they are related to switch position,” adding that the Chrysler probe was part of new “broader efforts.”

As concern over the safety of ignition switches was spreading beyond GM, the Seoul headquarters of Hyundai and its affiliates Kia Motors on Friday was also busily collecting information about the issue.

“Our product quality division is closely watching the situation,” said a Hyundai spokesperson, declining to further elaborate.

The industrywide inquiry by the NHTSA comes after GM recalled 2.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches that could prevent air bags from deploying. The defective switches are blamed for at least 13 deaths.

In May, Hyundai recalled 140,000 Tucson crossover models in the United States because the air bag assembly may come loose from its mounting on the steering wheel.

Previously in 2013, Hyundai and Kia also experienced massive recalls of 1.9 million vehicles to fix two problems, one involving air bags and the other, faulty brake light switches.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)

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