On September 15, 2023, Hyundai’s North American Safety Office convened a meeting to make a determination that I bet you and I could have made without the need for a room of experts. They decided that since some rear seat passengers could not use their seatbelts was a safety defect that required a recall.
The recall affects 2,354 gas-powered Konas from the 2024 model year. These vehicles were produced between June 19 and September 2, 2023, and were equipped with a seatbelt assembly that in 1 percent of cases could get stuck.
The issue was first raised by Hyundai’s port quality team, which found that a Kona that had landed in the U.S. had a seatbelt assembly that was partially separated. As a result, the belt could not be extended or retracted.
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The automaker launched an investigation to determine how many vehicles were affected by this problem. Hyundai performed vehicle and component inventory audits at its supplier, Joyson Safety Systems Korea, and found another 31 defective retractors for use in 2024 Konas.
These seatbelt assemblies may have undergone improper pin assembly, but the issue only affects the right rear seat. Owners may notice this problem before the belt fully locks if they hear a noise when they extend or retract it.
Naturally, if the belt locks up, that makes it difficult or impossible for the occupant in the right rear seat to buckle up. That vastly increases the risk of the passenger becoming injured in an accident and means that the vehicle does not comply with federal regulations.
As a result, Hyundai has launched a recall of these vehicles, and will start reaching out to owners on November 21. They will be asked to return their vehicle to a nearby dealer, where a technician will inspect the seatbelt assembly and replace it where necessary at no cost to the owner.