Hyundai recalls new Sonata with faulty locks

The new Hyundai Sonata displayed at the 2009 LA Auto Show in December. (GETTY IMAGES)

Hyundai Motor will recall 47,000 of its new Sonata sedans to fix faulty door latches, seeking to avoid the damaging criticism Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp faces for its handling of a series of safety problems.

The South Korean automaker announced the voluntary recall after earlier saying it would suspend US sales of its 2011 Sonata, a move analysts said was in contrast to Toyota's sluggish response to concerns about sudden unintended acceleration. "Recalls have become a highly sensitive issue since Toyota's recall," said Yim Eun-young, an analyst at Dongbu Securities.

"Hyundai seems to have decided to deal with these issues as fast as they can."

Hyundai, which was the only major automaker to increase sales in the battered US market last year, has targeted Toyota customers rattled by the acceleration problems linked to dozens of crashes and the recall of more than 8.5 million vehicles.

Shares in Hyundai Motor fell as much as 4.3 per cent in early trading yesterday and ended down 2.6 per cent versus a one per cent drop in the wider market. The stock had risen 13 per cent since Toyota's recall.

The Sonata and Elantra are the two top selling models for Hyundai, the world's number four carmaker with affiliate Kia Motors. "We have upgraded quality problems to a safety problem and decided to make a voluntary recall," said the company. The recall will affect about 1,300 of the 2011 Sonata sedans built through February 16 at Hyundai's plant in Alabama.

 

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