US Probes Airbag Failures in Hyundai, Kia Car Crashes

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

A new Hyundai on display in Detroit, Michigan, Jan. 15, 2018.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is probing four deaths where the air bags failed to deploy during a crash related to a Hyundai-Kia recall.

The problem leads to electrical circuit shorts in air bag control computers made by parts supplier ZF-TRW. Trainor stated the automaker is collaborating with NHTSA in the investigation, and that it has not observed any concerns with any vehicle except from the 2011 Sonata. Trainor said the automaker is working with NHTSA in the investigation, and that it has not seen any issues with any vehicle apart from the 2011 Sonata.

"Kia will act promptly to conduct a safety recall, if it determines that a recall would be appropriate", the company said. In each case, airbags failed to deploy during a frontal collision, according to the documents. The 2013 Forte crash occurred in Canada. A message was left Saturday for agency spokeswomen. A spokesperson for Kia could not be reached for comment.

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"We are actively investigating what exactly causes the airbag control unit to become damaged in these specific types of accidents", it said. 'It's very unusual to have that kind of collision'.

Dealers will consider offering loaner cars to owners until the problem can be repaired, he said. "ZF continues to work with its customers and NHTSA to support the ongoing investigation".

According to NHTSA, Hyundai investigated and found the problem was "electrical overstress" in the computers. The investigation will also look into which other manufacturers used the same or similar ZF-TRW air bag control units. Additionally, ODI is aware of a prior recall, 16V-688 where EOS appeared to be a root cause of air bag non-deployment in significant frontal crashes in certain Fiat Chrysler vehicles. In addition, the agency will try to determine if other auto makers are using potentially faulty parts made by ZF-TRW. ODI's current understanding is that the above Kia products also use similar ACUs supplied by ZF-TRW.

Four of the crashes in question involved Hyundai vehicles and two of the crashes involved Kia vehicles, the document states. The agency also said it's investigating whether the automakers followed safety reporting requirements. The investigation into three recalls by the two brands is pending.

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