Hyundai Breaks Ground on Safety Test and Investigation Lab
June 30, 2022—Hyundai broke ground Monday on its new Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory, a first-of-its-kind facility in Detroit.
The automaker has invested $51.6 million into the facility, and a report from The Detroit News says it is expected to be operational in the fall of next year.
According to a news release from earlier this year, the facility will "further existing safety testing and analysis" and will have a field crash investigation, high voltage battery and forensics labs, as well as a 500-meter track and a "Vehicle Dynamics Area."
“Safety is the top priority at Hyundai and is embedded throughout the entire organization,” Hyundai CEO José Muñoz said at the groundbreaking per the report. “We excel in third-party crash testing and ratings, and strive to be a leader in the latest safety features. The new laboratory will enable us to even more effectively protect our customers.”
The development of the facility is the result of a collaboration with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that was based on a 2020 consent order. The NHTSA issued that order after it determined both Hyundai and Kia acted too slowly in recalling more than 1.6 million vehicles from 2011 through 2014 that had issues with their engines.
The consent orders were issued "to enhance each company's safety practices," according to a news release from the NHTSA when the orders were submitted. Hyundai was required to pay a $140 million civic penalty and is under parameters of the order until November 2023. The NHTSA has the option to extend the order by another year if it feels it is necessary.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) said during the event the investment is a step in the right direction for the automaker.
“This investment by Hyundai is critically important not only to southeast Michigan but to our entire country,” Dingell said. “This new Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory will save lives, and I applaud Hyundai for their commitment to keeping passengers safe.”
The $51.6 million investment is part of a much larger $10 billion plan to bolster Hyundai's infrastructure through the U.S., including capabilities to build EVs and EV batteries.