The South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Co. will pay U.S. regulators a $17.35 million fine for delaying recall of 43,500 vehicles to fix a brake defect, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The company agreed to the fine after failing to timely notify regulators that certain components on the 2009 through 2012 Hyundai Genesis sedans were at risk of corrosion, which would reduce their effectiveness in crash prevention, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday.
The agency said Hyundai was aware in 2012 that the brake fluid on these models was insufficient to prevent corrosion. Instead of launching a safety recall, the company instructed dealers to change the brake fluid.
Hyundai recalled the vehicles in October 2013, after a NHTSA investigation. NHTSA was not aware of any deaths linked to the Genesis defect, but 87 consumer complaints it received suggested vehicle braking difficulty.
"Hyundai failed to act to protect their customers and others that were harmed in an accident and must change the way they deal with all safety-related defects," said David Friedman, acting agency administrator.
The agency said Hyundai will improve the way it identifies and reports safety defects, and create a U.S. technical committee to review and make recall decisions.
General Motors had the same defective brake parts, but recalled its vehicles in 2012, said NHTSA.
In May, GM agreed to pay a $35 million fine for delaying its defect report to NHTSA. The maximum allowable fine for the violation increased to $35 million last fall. The Hyundai violation occurred before the increase.
Last year, Ford Motor Co. agreed to pay a $17.35 million fine for its delay in recalling 423,000 Ford Escape sport-utility vehicles to fix a flaw that could cause the accelerator pedal to stick.
"NHTSA checks every recall for lack of timeliness and if the agency believes there is an issue it will take action as necessary," said the agency in a statement.
Car manufacturers must report safety defects to NHTSA within five days.
Auto makers have recalled 43.6 million vehicles in the U.S. since January 2014, more than any previous full-year total.