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EXCLUSIVE Hyundai recalls 227,000 cars in Australia

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    Hyundai's recall is to replace a faulty brake light switch across eight models.

  • -- Govt says faulty brake light switch is “not a safety issue”
  • -- Eight models, representing most of the range, affected
  • -- Hyundai has known about the fault for 15 months

Hyundai Australia will voluntarily call 227,000 cars back to dealerships.

The recall is to replace a faulty brake light switch across eight models -- representing most of its range -- after News Limited exclusively unearthed the fault late last year.

But the company has stopped short of calling it a safety recall because, inexplicably, the federal Department of Transport advised the ACCC it is “not a safety issue”. The faulty brake light switch exposed in Australia is also likely to spark a global recall of more than 1 million Hyundai cars.

Hyundai has known about the problem since November 2011 when it surfaced in Australia. The company had discreetly begun fitting replacement parts as customers came in with the problem.

Despite knowing about the fault for 15 months Hyundai has only just now started what the industry refers to as a “service campaign” -- and only after News Limited exposed the issue by sourcing a confidential dealer bulletin late last year. Dealers were finally notified of the service campaign late today and owners of the affected cars will be notified tomorrow.

“The government looked at the data and determined no further action was required,” said Hyundai Australia spokesman Bill Thomas. “The brakes still work and the brake lights still work. But in a very small percentage of cases there was a delay in full illumination of up to two seconds.”

Hyundai said that “in the vast majority of cases” if the brake light switch fails it prevents the vehicle from getting out of park or starting. In some cases the cruise control would not work.

The switch attached to the pedal wasn’t “talking” to the car’s computer properly. “The computer didn’t know the brakes had been applied,” Thomas said. This confused many of the car’s systems and a warning light would glow, prompting customers to take the car to a dealership.

Hyundai would not say how many cars are affected globally, but a figure of more than 1 million is a conservative estimate given that Australia accounts for about two per cent of Hyundai’s global sales. “[Hyundai] is looking at it on a market-by-market basis,” Thomas said.

Hyundai cars affected by faulty brake light switch
(all of these models will be called back to dealerships)

Hyundai Getz (August 2002 to August 2011)
Hyundai i30 (September 2007 to May 2012)
Hyundai Santa Fe (May 2006 to August 2012)
Hyundai Tucson (June 2004 to February 2010)
Hyundai ix35 (March 2010 to today)
Hyundi Elantra (October 2006 to June 2011)
Hyundai iLoad and iMax (February 2008 to today)

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 8 comments

  • I wonder if the computer 'new' that my car was switched off the other night. I had reported an issue with the starting of my 2011 Elantra to Hyundai (the car tried to continue starting when the starter switch was not pressed), only to have the car catch fire while it had been sitting unused over night. The car was a write-off. No response from Hyundai or assistance. Guess I'll shop elsewhere in future.

    Tim Hodder Posted on 30 September 2013 5:16pm
  • Really annoyed we have just lost the use of our ix 35 for the long weekend. The car wont start stuck in garage due to an issue that could have been addressed at the last expensive service. Not bloody happy.

    Stephen Youl of Launceston Posted on 10 March 2013 1:29am
  • Of course no other car company has ever had faults, hey Nick?

    Russell of South Gippsland Posted on 09 March 2013 8:21pm
  • But Josh, you've been such an advocate for the brand - check out your review of the Genesis for example. So tired of you presenting the most negative aspect of any story when ever you can

    Dave of Gawler Posted on 08 March 2013 11:12am
  • We are just about to like the brand, as a result of vastly improved design and product quality. How could they do this to us?

    YY of Sydney Posted on 07 March 2013 11:35pm
  • Between the Japanese (ie Toyota - over 20 million recalled in the last couple of years) and the Koreans, they have got the recall prize all to themselves - hope that makes those who knock Ford and Holden give themselves an upper cut!

    Anything But Toyota of North Queensland Posted on 07 March 2013 8:54pm
  • Ouch...

    Art Posted on 07 March 2013 3:16pm
  • Korean quality at its best.

    Nick Kaz of Melbourne Posted on 07 March 2013 12:10pm
Read all 8 comments

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