Hyundai is recalling certain 2011-2012 model year Sonata Hybrid sedans for potentially faulty center rear seatbelts.
A notice on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site lists the number of potential affected vehicles as 14,728 but indicates that only about 1,633 Sonata Hybrids currently in dealer inventory will be inspected and repaired, if necessary, first. Affected vehicles were produced beginning on December 2, 2010 and shipped to dealers through March 7, 2010.
2011 Hyundai Sonata HybridEnlarge Photo
At issue, in vehicles equipped with a center rear seat belt, is that the seat belt assembly detaches both the lap and shoulder portion. As noted in the NHTSA bulletin, this condition is a failure to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.”
Documentation from Hyundai (PDF) indicates that non-Hybrid Sonata models are not affected. The automaker further says that it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition.
What Hyundai will do
On March 8, 2012, Hyundai notified dealers of the noncompliance issue and issued a stop sale for all Sonata Hybrids currently in dealer inventory. Dealers will replace the center rear seat belts in approximately 1,633 Sonata Hybrid sedans.
For the approximately 13,095 vehicles that have already been delivered to customers, Hyundai says it intends to file a petition for a waiver from the recall requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act on the grounds that the noncompliance described is “inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.”
Until such time as the NHTSA rules on the petition, Hyundai is not required to conduct an owner notification and campaign remedy. If the NHTSA denies Hyundai’s petition, the automaker will be notified and will then conduct the required owner notification and remedy under a safety recall campaign.
What you should do
If you are purchasing a 2011 or 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid from a Hyundai dealer, be sure to inquire as to the status of the center rear seat belt assembly prior to taking delivery.
If you already bought or leased one of these 2011 to 2012 vehicles, be on the lookout for the resolution of Hyundai’s petition. If denied, you will receive notification to take your vehicle to the dealer for remedy of the condition.
In the meantime, owners of 2011 to 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sedans with any questions or concerns may contact the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to http://www.safercar.gov. Reference the NHTSA campaign ID No. 12V098000.
Alternatively, you can also sign up for the NHTSA’s recall notification system and receive recall updates relating to your vehicle. Just go to the “Vehicle Owner’s” section and enter the make and model year of your vehicle.