Hyundai Pours $50 Million into Car Safety in Response to Massive Recall
Hyundai is spending $50 million to build a new auto safety center in Michigan, a move designed to turn the corner on recent defect woes and resolve obligations to federal regulators.
The new safety test and investigation laboratory will be constructed next to Hyundai's existing Michigan tech center, Car and Driver reports. The campus will feature various labs, as well as a driving track and an outdoor crash facility, designed to help the company determine what went wrong when vehicles malfunction or are involved in accidents.
The move stems from a pair of consent orders that Hyundai and Kia reached with federal regulators following the recall of 1.6 million vehicles for engine problems a decade ago. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the companies slow-played the recall of cars equipped with defective Hyundai Theta II engines.
The consent orders required the companies to pay a combined $210 million in fines, with Hyundai forking over $140 million and Kia responsible for the remaining $70 million. Hyundai was also forced to spend $25 million on a test and inspection laboratory and another $15 million on “safety data analytics infrastructure.”
“It’s critical that manufacturers appropriately recognize the urgency of their safety recall responsibilities and provide timely and candid information to the agency about all safety issues,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said when the consent orders were announced in late 2020.
A Hyundai rep told Car and Driver that the new facility will help the company spot potential problems with vehicles earlier.
“The faster we can respond to a field issue, the less safety risk, less chance for injuries and we minimize the scope,” Hyundai Motor North America's chief safety officer Brian Latouf said.
Legal Rights for Hyundai Owners in California
Meanwhile, Hyundai continues to recall cars because of a wide variety of defects that pose significant safety risks.
The company recently announced it was recalling some 26,000 vehicles whose windshields could detach in the event of an accident, increasing the risk of injury. Around the same time, the company said it was recalling another 700 Santa Fe sport utility vehicles whose instrument panels were installed upside down.
The good news for Hyundai owners in California is that you have some important legal protections when it comes to defective vehicles.
The California lemon law generally requires carmakers to perform a wide range of repairs on cars while they are under warranty. The law also forces the companies to buy back - or replace, in some cases - vehicles that they are not willing or cannot fix. That includes compensating the owner for the car’s purchase price, along with financing costs and other related expenses.
There is no specific number of repair attempts or requests that must be made before the buyback or replace requirement kicks in. An experienced California lemon law attorney can help you understand your rights and take action.
Speak with a California Lemon Law Attorney
If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.