Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors failed to earn the highest safety rating for any of their models in the United States after the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety introduced tougher safety tests this year.
The results of various tests compiled by the IIHS serve as a barometer of safety for American consumers when buying a new car and are divided into four strata: good, acceptable, marginal and poor.
The U.S. body on Saturday announced the results of its small overlap test on over 180 new 2014 models, and only 22 received a "good" rating. The recently introduced test measures how much damage the car and driver can be expected to sustain when the driver's side corner hits an immobile object while traveling at 64 km per hour.
A total of six cars made by Hyundai and Kia were tested, but all failed to make the top grade. Hyundai's Elantra, sold as the Avante in Korea, and Kia’s Optima, known as the K5 in Korea, were the only ones to receive an "acceptable" rating.
Hyundai's Sonata was rated as "marginal," well behind rivals such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, which were classified as being "good" and "acceptable," respectively. Kia's K3 and Sportage and Hyundai's Tucson earned the lowest safety rating.
"We will reinforce the cars' bodies for the next small-overlap tests, starting with the new Genesis," Hyundai Motor said.