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Safety Recall for Hyundai Sonata Hybrids, but Hyundai Won’t Admit There’s a Problem

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a safety recall for Hyundai Sonata Hybrids produced between December 2, 2010 and March 7, 2012. These vehicles have a safety issue with one of their seatbelts: The rear center belt, which has a release mechanism that detaches both the lap and shoulder portion at the lower anchor point, does not meet NHTSA safety standards for occupant crash protection.

A full 14,728 vehicles are potentially affected by this recall. Of these, Hyundai has agreed to repair only the 1,633 Sonata Hybrids that are currently sitting at a dealership. For the remaining 13,095 vehicles that are actually out in the road being driven by people, Hyundai has told NHTSA that it plans to file a recall exemption petition. The reason? According to Hyundai, the recall for those cars is "inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety." Yes, you heard correctly. Not meeting seatbelt safety standards is inconsequential to vehicle safety.

Hyundai is not obligated to send out any recall notices or otherwise notify the 13,095 people who own the unsafe Sonata Hybrids until its petition is resolved. That’s why we are letting you know here which vehicles are involved in this safety recall. If you own one of these cars, please contact NHTSA to let them know how you feel about Hyundai’s petition.

Vehicle Make / Model: Model Year(s):

HYUNDAI / SONATA 2011-2012

Manufacturer: HYUNDAI-KIA AMERICA TECHNICAL CENTER INC Mfr's Report Date: MAR 08, 2012

NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 12V098000 NHTSA Action Number: N/A

Component: SEAT BELTS:REAR

Potential Number of Units Affected: 14,728

Summary:

CERTAIN MODEL YEAR HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID VEHICLES PRODUCED BEGINNING ON DECEMBER 2, 2010, AND SHIPPED TO DEALERS THROUGH MARCH 7, 2012, THAT ARE EQUIPPED WITH A CENTER REAR SEAT BELT INCORPORATING A RELEASE MECHANISM THAT DETACHES BOTH THE LAP AND SHOULDER PORTION AT THE LOWER ANCHORAGE POINT, FAIL TO CONFORM TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208, "OCCUPANT CRASH PROTECTION." -autoblog