The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a safety recall of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, but this campaign comes with a twist. NHTSA announced on its website that Sonata Hybrid models produced between December 2, 2010 and March 7, 2012 are being recalled due to a seatbelt issue. NHTSA announced that the rear center belt, which incorporates a release mechanism that detaches both the lap and shoulder portion at the lower anchor point, doesn't meet safety standards.

Of the 14,728 units potentially covered under the recall, Hyundai will repair the 1,633 Sonata Hybrid models currently sitting on dealer lots. But here is where the catch comes into play: The government agency says Hyundai plans to file a petition for a recall exemption for those vehicles already delivered to their owners because it believes the action is "inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety." Hyundai will not have to send out recall notices to the 13,095 Sonata Hybrid models already on the road until after the petition has been resolved. Hit the jump to read over the NHTSA press release.
Show full PR text
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."

Consequence: SEE NOTES.

Remedy:
Hyundai dealers are replacing the center rear seat belts in Sonata hybrid vehicles currently in dealer inventory with center rear seat belts that are not detachable from the lower anchorage point prior to delivery to customers.

Notes:
HYUNDAI DEALERS ARE REPLACING THE CENTER REAR SEAT BELTS IN APPROXIMATELY 1,633 SONATA HYBRID VEHICLES CURRENTLY IN DEALER INVENTORY WITH CENTER REAR SEAT BELTS THAT ARE NOT DETACHABLE FROM THE LOWER ANCHORAGE POINT PRIOR TO DELIVERY TO CUSTOMERS. FOR THE APPROXIMATELY 13,095 VEHICLES THAT HAVE BEEN DELIVERED TO CUSTOMERS, HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY INTENDS TO FILE A PETITION FOR AN EXEMPTION FROM THE RECALL REQUIREMENTS OF THE NATIONAL TRAFFIC AND MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT ON THE BASIS THAT THE NONCOMPLIANCE DESCRIBED IS INCONSEQUENTIAL AS IT RELATES TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY. THEREFORE, THE MANUFACTURER IS NOT OBLIGATED TO CONDUCT AN OWNER NOTIFICATION AND REMEDY CAMPAIGN UNTIL NHTSA HAS RESOLVED THIS PETITION. IF THE PETITION IS DENIED, THE MANUFACTURER WILL BE NOTIFIED AND MUST THEN UNDERTAKE ITS NOTIFICATION AND REMEDY CAMPAIGN OBLIGATIONS.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is going to be a tough sell convincing customers that a defect in the seatbelt of their new car is "inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety."
      Klinkster
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hyundai's increasing arrogance is further demonstrated by their actions of noting doing the right thing for customers. They clearly didn't take notice of what happens when other "larger" car companies didn't comply. Their customers bolted, they were fined, and received tremendous media coverage. Come on Hyundai..you cheap bastages! Cough up.
        Famsert
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Klinkster
        What about GM which ignored complaints about their steering problems for years and barely received a slap on the wrist and little to no media coverage? Some "larger" car companies get with it a lot more than others it seems.
      techie69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let the recalls begin. It takes alot more than fancy design to build a great car!
      tipdrip215
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey look, a catfish! Oh never mind, it's just the Sonata Hybrid.
      broq3.5
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't believe they found that many buyers! The Hybrid is UGLY!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      rmkensington
      • 2 Years Ago
      That front end and the wheels are just a mess.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      BMW ROCKS!
      • 2 Years Ago
      just recall the damn car and get it over with. not that i will ever see myself in hyundai.
      kesando
      • 2 Years Ago
      The car isn't half bad looking in person with the premium/ultimate package. Those base wheels are ugly though.
      Jan Calloway
      • 2 Years Ago
      thats straight up bs
      brian
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm confused The latch for center rear is likely no different than the latch for the other 4 seats - What makes the requirement different?
        StegRacing@youtube
        • 2 Years Ago
        @brian
        It sounds to me like there might be an additional latch at the normally fixed part. Possibly to completely take the belt out of the way when laying the seats down??
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