In May, around 230,000 Hyundai Elantras were recalled because seat belt pretensioners in the cars could potentially explode, causing injury. This week, NHTSA gave an update, saying that around 275,000 cars might be affected, including the aforementioned Elantras but also some Genesises and Kias.
The specific cars are 2021-2022 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid and Elantra=, 2021 Hyundai Venue, 2021 Genesis GV80, 2022 Genesis GV70, 2020-2021 Hyundai Accent, and 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid Plug-in and Hybrid.
NHTSA said this week in a document:
The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) is opening this Recall Query (RQ) on model year (MY) 2020-2022 Hyundai/Kia vehicles based on allegations of seatbelt pretensioners that may rupture and/or explode. ODI learned that Samsong is the supplier of the pretensioners and in the event a pretensioner defectively ruptures, it can release shrapnel resulting in abrasions or other injuries.
ODI is aware of 3 separate incidents exhibiting allegations of faulty seatbelt pretensioners. In all three incidents, the driver-side seat belt pretensioner deployed abnormally, causing metal fragments to enter the rear cabin resulting in injuries to the rear occupants. Currently the failure mechanism and contributing factors remain unclear to ODI.
I reached out to Hyundai and Kia to see if they have a statement on the matter, and will update this blog if they respond, though a Hyundai spokesperson told Automotive News that, “Hyundai has maintained regular and open communication with NHTSA regarding these recalls and will continue to provide relevant information and data throughout the recall query process.”
Meanwhile, five separate recalls have been issued related to the issue, according to NHTSA, and “due to the serious nature of the failures and multiple safety recalls issued, ODI has opened this Recall Query to better understand the scope and remedy of the recalls issued to date.”
NHTSA is, in other words, opening a probe into whether those five recalls are good enough to remedy the issue, and, if not, possibly seek to expand the recall to include more cars. As always, go to NHTSA’s website to see if your Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis is affected.