• Feb 23, 2010
2011 Hyundai Sonata SE – Click above for high-res image gallery

With the first units of its 2011 Sonata sedan having just begun hitting dealers, Hyundai is in the unfortunate position of having to issue a stop-sale on its most hotly anticipated new model in some time. According to Hyundai, an estimated 5,000 Sonatas may have a defective front door latch that could require replacement:
The [Sonata's] front doors incorporate a convenience feature that allows a locked door to be unlocked and opened by pulling the inside door release handle without first unlocking the door with the inside door lock switch. If a front inside door lock switch is held in the locked position while the inside door handle is pulled to open the door, the door latch may malfunction. If this occurs, the inside door handle will not return to its normal, stowed position and the door latch will remain in the unlatched position when attempting to close the door.
Because the two rear doors do not incorporate the automatic unlock pull-handle-to-open convenience feature, they are not affected by this issue, but both driver and passenger front door mechanisms could be in need of repair. Spokesperson Miles Johnson tells Autoblog that Hyundai will be working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall vehicles that are already in customer hands (roughly 1,300 units have been sold since the first examples hit dealerships over the past couple of weeks), and the company will begin shipping replacement latches to its 790 dealers tomorrow in order to fix both customer and dealer stock Sonatas as soon as possible. Once the new latches are installed (a process that Johnson says takes about an hour per vehicle), the stop-sale will be ended.

Johnson also acknowledged that Hyundai is keenly aware that the eyes of the media, public and Capitol Hill are on Toyota and NHTSA at this time, and the company hopes to effect a swift and complete fix for this door latch issue on a model range that is expected to remain the company's volume leader.

*UPDATE: Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson informs Autoblog that the stop-sale has been lifted, as replacement parts have already started hitting dealers and the effected parts have begun being replaced. On average, each dealer has six or seven Sonatas in stock and dealers have been looking at the codes stamped on the latches to see if they need to be replaced. Dealers will not sell vehicles without the replacement parts installed, but because the repair only takes an hour, they are still able to correct the issue and get customers into a new car the same day.

The 1,300 units that were already sold prior to the stop-sale action will be subject to a NHTSA recall, but even prior to that official announcement, concerned owners are advised to bring their cars into dealers for a free inspection (and latch replacement if necessary).




Photos by Michael Harley / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.


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  • 75 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't get the negative comments about the design. I think its pretty great, right alongside the Mazda6 as the best looking in the class.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think the auto industry would be so much better off it it never evolved. bring back the cars of the 50s and 60s. American cars, that is.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is hardly an issue. I think Toyota's problems are just causing every company to jump at every single thing that might be considered an issue, even for such small things as this lock "problem". The real problem is that there are apparently people who hold their locks down while trying to get out of their cars. *facepalm* This is the perfect way to trap idiots in their cars. Kudos to Hyundai!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The power of corporations is a queer thing. Some corporations wield their power to stop criticism of their products or use their organization to distract the unorganized (see Toyota).

      Some corporations wield their power in such a way that they protect consumer well-being and welfare better than any regulatory body.

      What a difference it makes when one companies decide to build reputations instead of rest upon them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      LOL.. well that was a lightning fast recall.

        • 4 Years Ago
        well, at least they did it before people started suing.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'd rather buy a car from an automaker that voluntarily recalls things rather than one that lies to the public and treats me like a crazy person until they finally cave in to lawsuits, government intervention, or negative media attention.

        Some companies have real warranties, but most don't these days ..
        • 4 Years Ago
        The 06 NF really should have been recalled for the facepalmingly terrible seatbelt nanny programming.

        Even the midyear revision didn't get it right.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, and for a pretty silly issue. Here's an easier fix: don't push down on the door lock at the same time as you're pulling the inside door handle.

        Anyway, my 1999 Miata would do the same thing. It was no more difficult to fix than it was to avoid--just reach into the door edge and move the latch by hand.
        • 4 Years Ago
        All I have to say is: LOL.

        And LOL again.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rich: WTF? seriously...wtf?
        Kreator
        • 4 Years Ago
        Are you idiot? Hyundai, indoqisian?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @nicholi: Hyundai is Indonesian, not Asian.

        Same as you are probably an American, not a European arsehole.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This inadvertantly happened to my 2006 Sonata probably two years ago, and it's had this going for it ever since.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My Ford Stock has a FRONT ROW SEAT to the implosion of the Asian auto market.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Luis,

        If you are lol (twice) at this little issue with door latch malfunction with the new Sonata, you must be crying your eyes out day and night at Toyota :-P
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, i think everyone's afraid to be in Toyota's shoes right now/
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hate cars with that feature. I have a habit of pulling the door handle sometime while driving (yes, nervous habit/twitch). I will never buy a car where the door opens when the handle is pulled when locked. Hyundai, Ford, Honda (tho they;ve been eliminating this lately), and GM (only a few new GM's have it, such as Lacrosse and CTS) should have an override switch in the door to allow the driver to select if they want this or not.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In some Volkswagens you have to pull twice on the door handle to open it if it's locked. Once to unlock, once to open.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why would you need to hold the lock from inside and try to open the door at the same time for??

      Anyways, at least it isn't anything major. Its just a recall for moron that likes to hold the lock and open the door at the same time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      you know, this car reminds me of the mazda6 in design, and oddly enough mazda also had a door latch recall on the first 10,000 or so cars off the line. And just like Mazda, Hyundai doesn't screw around with it, but it's recalled and fixed ASAP.

      See Toyota, that's how you do it.

        • 4 Years Ago
        very good point. You'd have to be pretty thick at this point not to respond as fast as possible to any and all recall situations.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "And just like Mazda, Hyundai doesn't screw around with it, but it's recalled and fixed ASAP."

        After seeing what's happening to Toyota, I don't think ANY car company is going to try to pull of what Toyota did any time soon...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't see why so many people think this car looks good. Maybe it'll look better to me in person. But right off the bat it doesn't do anything for me.

      On topic, we'll be seeing 10x the normal amount of recalls now. It won't matter anyway because most people don't pay attention to them or get the problem fixed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm with you on how it looks. Definitely does not do anything for me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly, i'm sure it's a great value, but come on, the looks are... just not good, or at least not as good as comments would indicate...
        Seriously...
      • 4 Years Ago
      @ #4 : hahahahahaa you're absolutely right
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good pre-emptive "recall"...call by Hyundai while in it's very early stage. Not like the arrogance/"big-headed" Toyota had displayed for several years denying serious complaints for so long...

      With that said, it is not advisable to procure a 1st new yr model of any vehicle on the get-go...(and that includes this Hyundai winner). Kinks are pretty sure to sprout out..
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hyundai - one of the better cars out now. Have had 3 and really surprised by their performance and quality. Made much improvement in becoming a quality car!
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