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Ministry conducts probe of Hyundai Tucson air bag

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Published : 2014-06-22 20:46
Updated : 2014-06-22 20:46

Hyundai Motor’s Tucson crossover utility vehicles is under probe by the nation’s transportation authorities over a defect that could cause the front passenger air bag not to deploy in an accident. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation confirmed the investigation on Sunday.

Tucson is the only vehicle that is currently under a defect investigation related to an air bag flaw launched by the ministry. The ministry plans to end the probe within this year. 
Tucson ix. (Hyundai Motor)

“Hyundai recalled Tucson because the driver’s-side air bag may not have been properly attached to the steering wheel but we are looking at other factor making the air bags not deploying at all,” the ministry official said.

According to the official, the ministry started to examine the vehicle for the air bag flaw in March prior to the automaker’s recall in the U.S. last month.

The automaker voluntarily called back nearly 138,000 of its SUV Tucson from the 2011-2014 model years in the United Sates and another 122,000 here due to improperly mounted driver’s side air bag in May.

“I believe that the subject of the investigation is limited to the vehicles sold in Korea, not the exported ones,” an official of Hyundai Motor said, but declined to comment on further details.

The ministry’s investigation was launched, following a last year’s accident that killed a Tucson driver after the car crashed into a rock on the roadside in North Chuncheong Province. The air bags on the front and side of the car failed to deploy even though the vehicle was severely damaged.

Meanwhile, officials of auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis visited the transportation ministry and lodged protest against the ministry’s scrutiny last Wednesday, claiming that it would conduct an internal investigation on the air bag issue.

According to a person with knowledge of the matter, the tension between Hyundai Motors and the ministry is escalating as they have been locked horn over several issues, including the government’s plan to adopt a replacement car parts certification system and carbon tax.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)

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