In the people vs. Hyundai, Hyundai has won.
An unusual problem arose last summer with the highly regarded and hot-selling Hyundai Palisade three-row SUV. A number of owners began complaining about stinky interiors that some described as smelling like rotten vegetables. It was quite embarrassing for the automaker and owners were rightly upset considering many had just shelled out around $50,000.
Hyundai quickly began examining the problem and soon traced it to the seats, but the suggested fix was a bit unusual. A technical service bulletin instructed dealers to douse the foam inside the SUV's headrests and seat backs with Febreze, the same over-the-counter stuff anyone can buy.
Hyundai further emphasized to owners they shouldn't do this themselves since it involves the Nappa leather seating surfaces. Doing the procedure wrong could damage the upholstery. But despite the TSB, some owners filed a class action suit against the carmaker, alleging the problem has still not been properly resolved. According to Car Complaints, the lawsuit has been dismissed for unspecified reasons by the plaintiffs themselves. As of now, the suit has not been refiled.
The likely reason for this voluntary dismissal is that the owners realized they simply didn't have a strong enough case. Hyundai did not ignore the issue when it was first brought to its attention. It seemingly made every effort to resolve it.
Also, these stinky seats only affected the Limited and Calligraphy models equipped with the Premium Nappa leather seats. In a statement last November, a Hyundai spokesperson said "there were slight variations in [the] manufacturing process of the headrests" that caused the odor and it only affected a "limited number of vehicles." Still, that's not exactly the end-all solution and we suspect there are still quite a few examples out there annoying owners with that rotten vegetable smell.
Hyundai's Febreze solution might have helped somewhat, but it probably doesn't completely eliminate the problem. We doubt this will be the last time we hear about this.