US Government Launches Investigation Into Hyundai And Kia Airbags

Airbags Didn't Deploy in 6 Head-On Car Crashes, Officials Say

Hyundai is looking into the product supplier, ZF-TRW, for a possible cause for the electrical problem.

The federal agency "will determine if any other vehicle manufacturers used the same or similar air bag control units, as supplied by ZF-TRW, and if so, evaluate whether the field experience of these vehicles indicates potentially related crash events", according to the notice on NHTSA's website.

The Associated Press reports that while the NHTSA is probing the Kia Forte, the Korean automaker has not issued a recall for the compact vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching an investigation into automakers based in Korea. NHTSA now wants to know if other automakers used the same computer. It has not yet identified a fix to the recall, the company said. That followed concerns raised by a South Korean whistleblower with the regulator in 2016 that Hyundai had concealed defects and that recalls were not issued in a timely manner.

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Last week, US consumers filed class-action complaints in Miami federal court to recover costs against units of General Motors and Volkswagen as well as Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz and Fiat Chrysler.

Hyundai said in a statement that the air bag control circuitry was damaged in three crashes and a fourth crash is under investigation. A Kia spokesperson was unavailable for comment. A safety expert said that's critical to determining how widespread the problem is and whether it's just a Hyundai and Kia issue.

NHTSA said it understands that the Kia Fortes under investigation use similar air bag control computers made by ZF-TRW.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, sold a total of 163,637 vehicles in the U.S.in the January-February period, down 8 percent from 177,826 units a year earlier. Kia Motors Corp. said it will work closely with the NHTSA, including monitoring crash reports and conducting more crash tests as needed.

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