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Hyundai Stops Sales of 2011 Sonata Due to Door Latch Problem

Posted: Feb. 24, 2010

The first trucks carrying the all-new 2011 Hyundai Sonata have barely begun to reach dealership lots, and the Korean automaker has ordered dealers not to sell them due to a safety concern.

The New York Times reports, “Hyundai found a fault in the front-door latches of the Sonata model, the company said in a statement. It planned to notify the South Korean government and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the defect this week.” The new design has just begun to hit U.S. dealerships – some reports say only 1,300 of the cars are in the U.S., but the redesigned Sonata has been on sale in Korea since last fall. The problem was apparently uncovered there. “Since the launch of the Sonata in Korea last September, Hyundai Motor has discovered a mechanical problem with its front door latches which, in very rare instances, will not close properly,” the company says.

The problem affects only the two front door latches. The rear doors use a different locking mechanism, and are not affected.

The stop-sale order is an extremely rare decision in the automotive industry, but most automakers are operating in a heightened state of alert thanks to Toyota’s recent, highly-publicized recall woes. Hyundai spokesperson Miles Johnson tells Autoblog “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.”

Those few owners who have already purchased a new 2011 Sonata should expect to receive a recall notice in the mail, but since the company has not yet filed a formal recall plan with the NHTSA, we don’t yet know the timing.

LINK: Hyundai Stops Sales of 2011 Sonata Due to Door Latch Problem - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews
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