Hyundai has announced the opening of a new safety laboratory at their Hyundai American Technical Center in Michigan. The lab, which represents an investment of $51.4 million, was a requirement of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a settlement made in 2020 over the automaker’s mishandling of engine recalls. Which had nothing to do with crash safety or safety investigations.
“It is a proud day for Hyundai Motor North America, with the opening of a world-class safety laboratory in the U.S.,” said José Muñoz, president and CEO, Hyundai and Genesis Motor North America. “Hyundai recognized the importance of expanding its hands-on field safety evaluation and investigation processes to help ensure the safety of our customers. We strive to be a leader in automotive safety.”
Regardless of why the lab was created, it is a step forward towards in-house safety management for the company. Which already ranks high in safety testing by both the NHTSA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Which was also on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facility.
“Like the impressive number of Hyundai Motor Group’s TOP SAFETY PICKs, the opening of this facility demonstrates the company’s deep commitment to creating a safe transportation system and the vision of a world where mobility does not come at the expense of people’s lives,” said David Harkey, president, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) at the event.
The new Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory (STIL) includes a field crash investigation lab, a high voltage battery lab, a forensics lab, a 400-meter track, and a Vehicle Dynamics Area skid pad (aka crash testing space). “The investment is focused on enhancing Hyundai’s safety commitment by helping with new technology development, identifying, and replicating vehicle field issues, expediting investigations, and conducting regulatory safety testing. IBI Group and BCCG were responsible for the architectural design and construction of the building,” says the press release.
The new STIL facility is a big step forward for automotive, but it is odd how it came about.