‘This car has saved our lives, and we are ready to buy another Hyundai’

By Charles E. Buban Philippine Daily Inquirer June 05,2019

A screen grab of the accident’s video footage

Crashworthiness is the ability of an automobile to protect its occupants from major injury or death should a collision occur. It gives a measure of the ability of an automobile’s structure to safeguard its occupants in survivable crashes.

This means should a head-on collision occur, the hood must be able to deform and redirect the energy into different directions, away from the passenger cabin.

Moreover that same passenger cabin has three other sections that also serve as additional protection: the A-pillars that hold the windshield in place; the B-pillars or the support posts that connect a vehicle’s roof to its body (the posts on both sides just behind the driver’s and front passenger seat); and the C-pillar or the roof support structure located on either side of the rear window on a typical sedan or coupé (in an SUV, minivan and wagon, this are the posts on both sides just behind the second row seats).

All these pillars must work in tandem to be able to support the weight of the automobile in the event of a rollover, or in the case of one unfortunate Hyundai Tucson in Taiwan, a falling four- to five-ton boulder.

Falling boulder

The incident happened last May 24 at around 7:30 pm in Hualien, a coastal city in the eastern region of Taiwan. It was raining heavily that night and as the Tucson drove through Suhua Highway, it got hit by a boulder that rolled off the mountainside.

It struck the Tucson in the A pillar area. Miraculously, the couple inside the Tucson lived to tell their tale. In fact, it was reported that after being treated in the hospital for minor injuries, the driver called up his sales agent (who sold him the Tucson) to tell him: “This car has saved our lives, and we are ready to buy another Hyundai.”

As expected, this incident lifted Hyundai’s brand awareness numbers, enabling the Korean automotive giant to highlight their vehicle’s ultra-rigid vehicle frame that is made from the company’s very own
Advanced High Strength Steel.

This means that in the event of a collision or impacting object such as a boulder, this frame designed to deliver exceptional stiffness and strength, will help protect occupants by absorbing harmful energy and redirecting it away from the passenger cabin.

Integrated steel works

What many do not realize is that Hyundai Motor Group is the only car manufacturer with its own integrated steel works. As a steel mill specialized in automotive materials, Hyundai Steel is heavily engaged in the development of next generation steel for the future automotive industry.

The Hyundai Tucson

Furthermore, merging with cold rolling division of Hyundai Hysco in December 2013, Hyundai Steel has now established itself as a one-stop production system integrating all production processes from raw materials to finished products.

The biggest benefit of this is the ability for a company like Hyundai Motor to develop proprietary ultra-high strength steel that can give Hyundai
vehicles a crucial advantage.

Not the first time

The Taiwan incident is not the first time that tested Hyundai vehicle’s ultra-high strength steel: In April 2012 in the city of Busan in Korea, a trailer truck carrying a four-ton shipping container tipped over sideways and fell onto a Hyundai Accent that was in the lane next to it.

Hyundai’s ultra-rigid vehicle frame

Fortunately for everyone involved, the Accent’s ultra-high strength steel B-pillar supported the weight of the container and stayed entirely intact.

No wonder most Hyundai vehicles including the Tucson, score high on regular crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (mostly five-star overall rating, with five stars for both frontal and side impacts). Even the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave Hyundai vehicles, including the Tucson, a Top Safety Pick award.

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