Korean consumers are casting doubts on the result of the crash test concerning the Hyundai Elantra.
Recently, the model won the highest grade in the crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in which the vehicle collided with a wall at 40 miles per hour. Of the 12 cars of similar size subjected to the test, the Elantra was picked as the safest one.
Earlier back in December 2011, the Elantra was selected as the safest car by the IIHS, too. However, the vehicle safety test conducted in the same year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) yielded an opposite result. At that time, the Hyundai Elantra recorded the lowest score, whereas the Chevrolet Cruze fared best in the head-on collision and rollover tests.
These days, Hyundai’s vehicles are considered by not a few customers to use steel plates weaker than those used in the cars of its competitors like GM Korea, Renault Samsung, and Ssangyong Motors. Some of them are even criticizing it as employing different steel sheets in the cars sold in the domestic market and those shipped overseas. Even though Hyundai has officially announced that there is no difference at all between them, the controversy still remains.
Consumers are doubting the result of the IIHS test based on the weight of the Elantra and the Cruze. The former weighs 1,190kg, 165kg lighter than the latter. Also, they are sharing car accident photos in online communities to express their distrust of the cars manufactured by Hyundai, claiming that its vehicles are damaged more in the same accident since they use weaker steel plates.
“They are absolutely misguided when it comes to the safety of our vehicles,” said the auto manufacturer, adding, “They tend to judge the safety based only on how much a car is crushed in an accident, but that is not the only yardstick.” It continued, “Instead, they should focus on how much shock the car absorbs to protect the passengers; that is, a little crash does not necessarily mean that the vehicle fails to absorb the impact, and it is wrong to determine the safety based solely on the weight of a vehicle.”
Then, what is the stance of GM Korea, which is producing vehicles much heavier than those of Hyundai? The company explained, “The safety of a car cannot be determined by the degree of the crash, but it depends on the shock absorption technology.” In short, it shares the same stance with Hyundai. It added, “Of course, the thickness of the steel plates and the weight of the vehicle have to do with how safe the car is, but it is not scientific to make an evaluation with only a few of these factors.”
If it is so, why does GM Korea manufacture heavier cars? The company changed its note slightly, “The difference in the weight is caused by many reasons, such as the plating method and the ratio of the sheets, but it is true that we make heavier cars for the sake of passenger safety.”