Genesis gives Hyundai a roller coaster of a day

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Genesis gives Hyundai a roller coaster of a day

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The nation’s leading automaker, Hyundai Motor, had some ups and downs on Wednesday thanks to its Genesis premium large sedan.

The bad news came in the form of a recall by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Tuesday, local time, of 42,745 cars: 41,605 Genesis models manufactured from April 30, 2008, to Nov. 21, 2010, and 1,140 Equus models produced from July 31 to Nov. 21, 2010.

The NHTSA said there is a possibility the cars’ brake lights could malfunction and cause serious accidents because vehicles behind a faulty Equus or Genesis would not see the cars ahead slowing.

The safety agency notified Hyundai of the problem in October after receiving complaints from consumers. No accidents have been linked to the potential problem, the NHTSA added.

Hyundai said it will replace brake light switch circuits for free at U.S. dealers.

But there also was good news Wednesday regarding the company’s second-generation Genesis.

Hyundai said the model, which was introduced in Korea in January, was chosen as one of three finalists for North American Car of the Year 2015, along with the Ford Mustang and Volkswagen Golf.

The Genesis that was recalled won the award in 2009 and the Avante, known as the Elantra in the United States, won in 2012.

Hyundai’s Sonata was nominated in 2011.

The winner will be decided by a vote of 60 automotive journalists from media outlets in the United States and Canada.

The award is given to one car and one truck. The three finalists were chosen from a field 10 vehicles announced in September.

The winner will be announced at the North American International Auto Show in January in Detroit.

None of Hyundai’s Japanese rivals, including Honda and Toyota, was selected as a finalist this year.

Hyundai said it expects the Genesis to win because safety features are important in the United States, as shown by the recent massive recall of Japanese-made Takata airbags.

The new Genesis received a perfect score on all 29 safety tests conducted by the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and was given the institute’s Top Safety Pick Plus award in May.

In November, the newest Genesis won the Residual Value Award 2015 in the premium large sedan category from the Automotive Lease Guide.

A total of 16,808 units were sold through November in the United States and Hyundai expects to sell 70,000 units globally.

“We are thrilled that the Genesis has been listed as a finalist among an amazing cast of contenders, and we anxiously await the jury’s final vote in January,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. “Genesis has helped guide product development and continues to be a game-changing model that challenges convention and redefines the luxury market.”

BY KWON SANG-SOO [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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