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Recall: Personal injury, car accident concerns plague Hyundai

Car maker Hyundai is having persistent and nagging problems with a safety-related issue in millions of its vehicle that engineers have made repeated and unsuccessful attempts to fix.

The issue, which relates to a brake light malfunction, has stubbornly resisted a fix for several years, and the car accident concerns it raises resulted last week in a massive product recall issued by the Korean vehicle manufacturer.

Hyundai is one of the world’s highest-selling and most profitable motor vehicle companies, having made major marketing strides throughout the world — and especially in North America — in recent years. Company officials express frustration that the recurring brake issue should visit Hyundai now, with its recent sales ascent marking it as a top-5 global manufacturer.

The brake light-related snafu actually and potentially involves nearly two million vehicles. Most centrally, engineers’ concerns focus on the propensity for brake lights to operate without warning or drivers’ involvement. That irregularity creates an obvious danger for other vehicles in close proximity.

Hyundai issued a recall in 2009 to fix the problem in certain older models. Since then, it has made three additional attempts to fix it in more recently manufactured units. The persistent glitch resulted in last week’s announcement, which applies to a wide range of Hyundai and Kia vehicles (Kia is essentially a subsidiary of Hyundai).

Another safety issue that has Hyundai concerned and for which the company also issued a recall announcement last week involves a defect in side air bag installation that can result in personal injury to passengers in a side-impact car crash. About 190,000 Elantra models are being called in to attend to that problem.

Source: The Detroit News, “Hyundai, Kia recall more than 2.2M vehicles in for electrical, air bag issues,” David Shepardson, April 3, 2013