(Adds Hyundai, NHTSA comment, background)
DETROIT Aug 7 Hyundai Motor Co will
pay a fine of $17.35 million for failing to report a brake
defect in timely fashion to U.S. safety regulators, the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Thursday.
NHTSA said the South Korean automaker delayed a recall for a
defect that can cause corrosion in the braking system of about
43,500 Hyundai Genesis sedans from model years 2009 to 2012.
"Rather than issue a recall, Hyundai instructed dealers to
change the brake fluid in affected vehicles without explaining
the consequences of failing to change the brake fluid," NHTSA
said in a statement. "Hyundai also did not inform Genesis owners
of the potential safety consequences. Hyundai finally issued a
recall of the affected vehicles in October 2013 as a result of a
There have been no deaths reported that are related to this
issue, but there have been two reports of injuries and six
crashes, NHTSA said.
Automakers are required by federal law to report
safety-related defects to NHTSA within five days, NHTSA said.
David Zuchowski, head of Hyundai Motor America, said in a
company statement, "Hyundai remains committed to making safety
our top priority, and is dedicated to ensuring immediate action
in response to potential safety concerns including the prompt
reporting of safety defects."
Hyundai said that most of the affected cars have been fixed.
Hyundai has agreed with NHTSA to improve the way it
identifies and reports safety defects.
The fine comes at a time when some U.S. politicians are
calling for stiffer penalties for automakers and in some cases
criminal prosecution for auto executives who are found to allow
unsafe vehicles on the road.
This year, General Motors Co alone has recalled about 25.5
million vehicles. GM was fined the maximum penalty of $35
million for delaying the recall of cars with ignition switch
defects that have led to the deaths of at least 13 people.
"This Administration will act aggressively and hold
automakers accountable when they put the American public at
risk," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in the
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by David Gregorio and