The Chicago Auto Show is back, but there’s not a lot of news coming out of this year’s event.
Hyundai is one of the few exceptions as the automaker used the show to announce the establishment of a new Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory at their Technical Center in nearby Michigan.
The automaker is investing over $50 million into the facility and the funds will be used to enhance Hyundai’s “safety commitment in identifying vehicle field issues, preventing crashes, and keeping passengers safe.” As part of this effort, the company will build a new field crash investigation lab, a high voltage battery lab, a forensics lab, a 0.31 mile (500 meter) long track, and a Vehicle Dynamics Area pad. All of the new features are slated to become operational in the fall of 2023.
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The Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory was developed in collaboration with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration and is the result of a Consent Order to help resolve allegations the company was slow to recall vehicles and “inaccurately reported certain information to [the] NHTSA regarding the recalls.” While the automaker was effectively forced to build the lab, the company said it will enable them to quickly analyze field data, determine the root cause of issues, and take action to ensure vehicle safety.
Approximately 150 jobs are expected to be created and Hyundai Motor North America’s Chief Safety Officer, Brian Latouf, remarked “With the added testing and investigation capabilities of the STIL, we will better understand customer vehicle issues, identify and address defects, and analyze vehicle systems more efficiently with our own, on-site laboratory. The access to real-world data will help accelerate our pursuit of a best-in-class safety office and enable effective safety technologies to help protect our customers and their families.”