Hyundai has agreed to pay a $17.35 million federal fine following a recall delay related to 43,500 vehicles with problematic brakes.
The fine was the maximum allowed by law at the time Hyundai violated federal regulations by delaying a recall on Hyundai Genesis sedans from model years 2009-'12, the Wall Street Journal reported.
After a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation, the automaker issued a recall for the vehicles in October 2013.
Hyundai was aware of problems in the sedans back in 2012, according to the NHTSA. The automaker knew that brake fluid in the Hyundai Genesis didn't sufficiently protect against corrosion; however, instead of issuing a recall, Hyundai told dealerships to swap out brake fluid on the vehicles.
The NHTSA action follows similar fines for General Motors and Toyota this year that were also related to recall delays, illustrating the agency's renewed sense of urgency when it comes to recalls.
Under federal law, automakers have five days to report safety-related issues to regulators.
"Safety is our top priority, and all automakers should understand that there is no excuse for failing to report a safety-related defect, as required by law," said Anthony Foxx, secretary of the Transportation Department, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times. "This Administration will act aggressively and hold automakers accountable when they put the American public at risk."
Hyundai, which plans to add staff to review potential safety issues, has said that most of the recalled Genesis sedans have been fixed for brake corrosion problems.
The NHTSA received 87 owner complaints about issues with Genesis brakes, but the agency is not aware of any related fatalities.