2012 Hyundai ElantraEnlarge Photo
The highly popular 2012 Hyundai Elantra is at the center of an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to NHTSA's website, an Elantra driver suffered a severe laceration to the ear after the vehicle's side-curtain air bags deployed.
NHTSA's investigation summary describes a photo provided by the driver showing "a metal component protruding from the left edge of the headliner above the driver's seat". The driver's complaint states that the "drivers [sic] side air bag delpoyed [sic] and metal bracket deployed with air bag from headliner area also and sliced my ear in half...could have been neck".
NHTSA opened its investigation on May 10, and to date, this is the only such complaint it has received about the 2012 Elantra or its sibling, the Elantra Touring. According to a statement from Hyundai's Miles Johnson acquired by the Detroit Free Press, the automaker hasn't received any other complaints, either, but Hyundai is cooperating fully with NHTSA's investigation. Johnson also points out that neither Hyundai nor NHTSA has had the opportunity to examine the car in which the accident occurred.
As of April 30, Hyundai had sold 61,237 units of the popular Elantra in 2012, and another 186,361 in 2011. Though it's unclear how many of the latter came from the 2012 model year, things could get costly if this escalates to a full recall. We'll keep you posted.