South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor is recalling nearly 140,000 of its Sonata sedans in the United States due to a steering problem, U.S. authorities said.
The company is recalling 139,500 2011 model-year vehicles due to the problem in which "the driver could experience a loss of, or reduction in, steering capability increasing the risk of a crash," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
The recall is expected to begin in October.
The NHTSA said that dealers "will inspect the steering column intermediate shaft universal joint connections for proper assembly and torque," and will update the power steering software.
It is not the first time that the Sonatas have experienced mechanical trouble. On February 24 the company said it was recalling 47,300 of its latest Sonata sedans in the United States and the domestic market due to a possible door lock problem.
Separately, Hyundai ordered the recall of more than 500 Tucson sport utility vehicles in the United States in early March due to potentially defective airbags.
Hyundai said it was acting voluntarily to ensure safety. It said it knew of fewer than 10 vehicles with improperly assembled or loose universal joint connections and no accidents had occurred as a result.
Auto analysts said the damage to the carmaker's reputation would be limited.
Hyundai's U.S. auto sales rose 8.3% to 435,064 in 2009, giving it a market share there of 4.2% compared to 3% in 2008.
The company's overseas plants account for about half of Hyundai's total sales.
Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors together form the world's fifth largest auto making group and have been pushing hard in recent years to improve quality. But on September 7 the head of Kia Motors resigned to take responsibility for the global recall of 85,900 vehicles over faulty electrical wiring.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010