Hyundai has announced a customer service campaign aimed at addressing steering problems with the 2011 Sonata sedan.
The maker describes the move as a “service action,” rather than a recall, because it addresses customer concerns raised by several groups, including Consumer Reports. The influential magazine noted in a review of the Sonata 2.0T that it “drifts to the left on some roads.” While the problem could “easily countered,” the magazine stressed, “it was an annoyance.”
Automakers take great pains to satisfy Consumer Reports, in particular, but often take steps to resolve other reviewers’ criticism where it has the potential to influence sales or customer satisfaction. But a service action is not directly regulated the way a recall is by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The Sonata, once an also-ran in the sizable U.S. midsize sedan market, has become a major competitor since it was completely redesigned two years ago.
The Sonata steering problem appears to be inconsistent. It has been raised by some reviewers and not others. TheDetroitBureau.com did not experience the situation in two separate versions of the turbo-powered Sonata 2.0T.
The problem appears related to sedans equipped with 18-inch wheels. That excludes the base version of the Sonata. Of 206,000 of the Korean sedans sold in the U.S. between September 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011, a spokesman told USA Today, “We know about 41,000 are in the suspect population.”
How many will actually need repairs is unclear. The maker says it will inspect vehicles brought to its dealers and, if necessary, will both replace suspension struts and reprogram the electric power steering units.
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