WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- Hyundai Motor Co. will recall about 139,500 cars in the U.S. because of steering issues that could result in a loss of or reduction in maneuvering capability, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
The year 2011 Sonata sedans manufactured between Dec. 11, 2009, and Sept. 10, 2010, are subject to the plan, the agency said in a statement on its Web site. Hyundai Motor America informed the agency it is voluntarily initiating a safety recall of Sonata sedans to inspect the steering issues, Hyundai Motor said in an e-mailed statement early Sunday.
Regulators began probing the Sonata's steering in late August.
“It's a recall of Hyundai's flagship model in the flagship market,” said Kang Sang Min, a Seoul-based analyst at Hanwha Securities Co. “A voluntary recall with no case of accident usually gives an impression that the company cares about safety.”
The recall comes amid increased attention among automakers to quality problems after Toyota Motor Corp. recalled more than 13 million vehicles in the past year for a variety of problems, including unintended acceleration. Hyundai Motor said there were fewer than 10 vehicles with the steering issues and no accidents or injuries have occurred as a result of this condition.
The automaker, based in Seoul, is expected to begin the recall in October, according to the U.S. agency, which opened a preliminary probe into steering issues on the model in August.
Kia Motors Corp., an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, this month said that Jeong Sung Eun resigned as vice chairman to take responsibility for the recent recall of four models. Kia began recalling about 104,000 cars worldwide earlier this month because of a wiring problem that can cause fires.
Hyundai's U.S. sales rose 17 percent in the first eight months of the year, led by demand for the revamped midsize Sonata and new Tucson crossover vehicle. The growth is more than double the 8.4 percent increase in industry-wide deliveries through August, according to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Autodata Corp.
Hyundai's full-year U.S. sales in 2010 should finally surpass its long-time target of 500,000 units, and the company may set an “all-time record” for U.S. sales in September owing to demand for its Sonata sedan, John Krafcik, the company's U.S. CEO, said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Sept. 16.