Feds expand Hyundai Elantra "severed ear" air bag probe
Federal safety regulators have expanded an investigation into an air bag problem with the 2012 Hyundai Elantra. Originally launched in May, the updated probe will also include 2011 and 2013 Elantra models, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Aside from adding two model years, the NHTSA also announced that the investigation has been upgraded to an engineering analysis, which is one stage closer to a recall.
The NHTSA initially began examining a possible air bag defect due to a complaint that the side air bag in a 2012 Elantra cut a driver’s ear in half when it deployed. According to the grievance, a piece of loose metal was launched from the vehicle’s side air bag when it deployed, severing the driver’s ear. In total, the NHTSA investigated 123,000 model year 2012 Elantras, 75,000 of which were sold in the U.S.
Despite the severity of the complaint, Hyundai argues that is an isolated incident. In May, the automaker told the AP that it “has no other reports of injury from side curtain air bag deployment in 2012 Elantras.”
Although an air bag recall appears likely, the Elantra has been exempt from safety recalls in recent years. In fact, there has not been a single recall on any 2010 through 2013 Elantra.