Posted Sep 18th 2012 4:31PM
Back in May, we reported on the unlucky driver of a 2012 Hyundai Elantra who claimed his ear was sliced in half following the deployment of his side airbag. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has since looked into the incident, and while it did not issue a recall, it has expanded its investigation to include all fifth-generation (2011 through 2013 model years) Elantra sedans.
During the accident, a metal bracket that acts to stiffen the headliner detached from the car and hit the driver according to a report on The Detroit News; this bracket is only used on Elantra models built in South Korea and not those built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) in Montgomery, Alabama. It isn't clear what the mix of imported and domestic Elantras is in the U.S., but NHTSA has not received any other reports of a similar incident.
Hyundai has been performing tests to try to duplicate the problem, and while it did get the bracket to detach in one test, the piece of metal apparently didn't separate in a manner that could injure an occupant.
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