Hyundai Motor Co. will pay a USD 17.35 million fine for failing to report a brake defect on 43,500 Genesis vehicles from model years 2009-12. Moreover, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Hyundai has agreed improve their process for indentifying, reporting and communicating safety-related defects.
NHTSA says the said safety-related defect on the affected Hyundai Genesis models can cause corrosion in the brake system components of the vehicle. This may result into reduced braking performance and increase the risk of a crash.
“Safety is our top priority, and all automakers should understand that there is no excuse for failing to report a safety-related defect, as required by law," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The brake fluids used in the 2009-2012 Genesis did not sufficiently inhibit corrosion in key components of the vehicle's brake system and NHTSA discovered that Hyundai had been aware of the problem since 2012. Despite being aware of the issue, Hyundai didn't issue a recall. Rather, the company instructed its dealers to change the brake fluid in the affected vehicles without releasing an official explanation.
NHTSA also said that Hyundai did not inform the affected Genesis owners regarding the potential brake system component that could become corroded due to an incompatible fluid.
There have been no reports of fatalities related to the said defect, but six consumers reported collisions, including two reports of injuries, NHTSA said.
As of January 14, 2014, Hyundai had 87 consumer complaints involving the Genesis and most of it is due to increased difficulty in braking.