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Hyundai fighting recall of Sonata Hybrid for seatbelt issue

Hyundai continues its increasingly strong position among carmakers, and it now believes it can do well against a more powerful industry leader — the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Hyundai has been ordered to recall and replace center rear seat belts in 14,728 Sonata hybrids from model years 2011 and 2012. But the automaker is seeking a review of the recall and is filing for an exemption.

The Korean automaker has fixed the issue believed to be a safety concern for 1,633 Sonata Hybrids in its possession. But Hyundai believes there's no further risk for slightly more than 13,000 other Hyundai hybrids in the public sector.

Several auto web sites are reporting the issue in question is whether seatbelts on the Hyundai hybrids violate a U.S. safety that prohibits "a release mechanism that detaches both the lap and shoulder portion at the lower anchorage point."

The NHTSA will review the appeal. If the recall is upheld, Sonata hybrid owners will be contacted by the carmaker with details for the seatbelt replacement.

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