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Hyundai recalls Elantras over airbag system defect

Hyundai Corp recalled more than 190,000 Elantra sedans in the United States and Puerto Rico due to a defect that could allow the passenger side airbag to malfunction.

The recall affects Elantras for the model years 2007, 2008 and 2009, according to a notice posted on Friday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

The centre console contains a sensor that detects the weight of the passenger and ordinarily, the sensor will disable the right airbag if the passenger is of a certain weight.

However, if the sensor is tampered with-- which could happen if liquid spills on the centre console-- the airbag may deploy irrespective of the passenger's weight.

A Hyundai spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment. Those affected vehicles were made from July 2006 through November 2008.

More than 96,000 of these cars in the United States and Puerto Rico will also be repaired for a another issue that could cause the driver's side airbag to improperly deploy if the seat is set in a certain position.

The affected vehicles are of the model years 2007 and 2008 and were made from July 2006 to August 2007.

In 2010, the Elantra's US sales increased 28% to about 132,000, making it the second-best selling Hyundai model in the United States behind the Sonata sedan.