DETROIT, July 9 (Reuters) - U.S. safety regulators have opened a probe into an estimated 50,000 Hyundai Motor Co Santa Fe SUVs after receiving complaints alleging loss of vehicle control due to failure of the right-front axle shaft.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary evaluation into the 2013 model SUVs after receiving two complaints of vehicle control loss occurring with less than 5,000 miles on the odometer, according to documents filed online.
NHTSA said its review of information submitted by the South Korean automaker identified additional field report data related to the alleged defect.
"It is too early in the process to draw any conclusions and no safety-related defect has been identified, but Hyundai is cooperating fully to respond to NHTSA's request," Hyundai spokesman Miles Johnson said in an email.
"Hyundai will, of course, take any actions necessary to ensure the safety of our customers if the information gathered during the investigation indicates that action is appropriate," he added.
A preliminary investigation is the first step in a process that could lead to a recall should regulators determine that a safety issue needs to be addressed by a manufacturer.