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Hyundai Uses Baboons for Car Durability Test

JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/GettyImages(LONDON) -- Dozens of baboons were caught on camera jumping on, scratching at and generally trying to destroy a Hyundai New Generation i30 hatchback vehicle parked in a safari park in Britain this week. Still, this was no monkey business. The episode was staged by the carmaker in an attempt to prove the new model vehicle’s durability.

Hyundai sent the car into the Knowsley Safari Park, near Liverpool, England, and let a few dozen of the park’s notoriously messy baboons loose.

In a video posted to YouTube this week, the baboons are seen treating the car as their own playground, which is exactly what the South Korea-based carmaker wanted.

Hyundai is billing the New Generation i30, the European equivalent of the Elantra GT in the U.S., as a car specifically designed for families.  So the company says the baboons were used to demonstrate that the car could survive damage inflicted by children, or, as the company calls them, the “little monkeys in the back.”

The Knowsley Safari Park baboons were chosen for their well-known love of tearing park visitors’ cars apart, the company says in a description of the test posted alongside the YouTube video.

Billing the test as the “first endurance test of its kind in the U.K. by a car manufacturer,” both Hyundai and the park say it was a success.

“I’ve seen thousands of cars pass through this enclosure, get mobbed by monkeys, and none have lasted the distance as well as this Hyundai,” reads a review by David Ross, the park’s general manager.  “These baboons are incredibly inquisitive. If you put them on any car they will scour it for the weak points and find any faults. At one point there were 40 monkeys in the car…that’s 10 times the size of the average human family!”

“You have to be pretty brave to subject a car to the most rigorous quality testers in the world, and the monkeys certainly gave our New Generation i30 a thorough examination,” Hyundai said in a statement.  “The fact that it survived with only a few scrapes is testament to the way a modern Hyundai is designed and engineered.”

To compensate the baboons for their time, Hyundai says it donated $1,600 to the Primate Society of Great Britain, one of the safari park’s supported charities that helps monkeys and apes in captive care.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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