Government Probes Hyundai And Kia Crashes

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The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into a series of deadly crashes in which airbags in Hyundai and Kia cars failed to inflate.

Hyundai Motor issued a recall previous month for 154,753 U.S. Sonatas after non-deployment reports were associated with electrical overstress in the air bag control unit, however stated it did not have a final fix yet. Hyundai is looking into the product supplier, ZF-TRW, for a possible cause for the electrical problem.

Ko estimated the USA recall could cost as much as $575 million if air bags were replaced in 425,000 vehicles under review and the automakers were found responsible for the problem.

Hyundai has confirmed the fault in the airbag control circuitry in three crashes, while the fourth is still under investigation, the automaker said. The safety agency now wants to know if other automakers used the same computer, said The AP. Kia has not yet issued a recall. Kia Motors Corp said it will work closely with NHTSA, including monitoring crash reports and conduct more crash tests as needed.

People who complain to the NHTSA are not identified in its database.

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Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor said the problem occurred in rare head-on collisions that were offset from the center of the vehicles. There is no present way to solve the problem, the automaker said. The company said it is working with customers and supports the NHTSA investigation.

ZF TRW was formed when closely held German company ZF Friedrichshafen AG bought US -based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. for more than $12 billion in 2015. All six crashes were reported to NHTSA between 2012 and 2017, but it was unclear when they occurred.

In January, Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, sold a total 90,162 vehicles, down from 110,097 units a year earlier.

Hyundai Motor shares tumbled 4.8 percent while Kia Motors lost 3.7 percent.