The following statement was issued by Jim Trainor, Sr. Group Mgr., Product Public Relations of Hyundai Motor America:
While a tragic accident, Hyundai firmly believes the jury’s verdict in Olson vs. Hyundai is mistaken and award of damages at three times what was sought by the plaintiffs is outrageous and should be overturned as Hyundai is not at fault. Eyewitness testimony established – and experts for both sides agree – that fireworks exploded in the unbelted teenagers’ vehicle immediately before the July 2, 2011 accident, which involved the driver losing control, crossing the median and crashing head-on into an oncoming Pontiac at a closing speed of approximately 140 miles per hour – a speed confirmed by experts for both sides. Hyundai believes the jury’s view of the evidence was distorted by a series of erroneous rulings by the Court, the most egregious of which prevented the jury from reviewing performance testing conducted by renowned failure analysis experts that would have disproven the plaintiffs’ theory of the case – a theory derived by a local resident with no previous automotive experience. Hyundai will seek an immediate appeal.
The 140 mph closing speed head-on collision crushed the steering knuckles of both vehicles involved, a Hyundai Tiburon and a Pontiac Grand Am. According to the local resident retained by the plaintiffs, the steering knuckle in the Hyundai spontaneously cracked and failed immediately before the accident. Had that been the case, Hyundai can prove that the vehicle would have veered to the right – not to the left as happened in the crash – yet this crucial evidence was excluded by the Court. The plaintiffs’ expert had no explanation for the fact that the same part in the Pontiac, made by another manufacturer, also failed in the accident. Hyundai remains firm in its belief that the failure of the steering knuckle was not a cause, but a result of this tragic accident.