GM, Mazda Issue Recalls

A shortage of replacement parts is forcing auto giant Mazda Motor Corp. to issue a <"">vehicle recall in two parts, the LA Times has said. Meanwhile, General Motors Co. is also issuing its own recall.

Mazda is recalling 215,000 of its 2007-2009 Mazda3 and Mazda5 sedans over reports of sudden power steering loss while driving, said the LA Times, which can increase crash risks said federal safety regulators. GE is issuing its own large recall of some 243,000 SUVs to inspect second row seat belts, said the LA Times. In some cases, safety belt buckles appear locked when not, explained the LA Times.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported it received about 33 complaints concerning the Mazda’s steering problems, wrote the LA Times. It seems the vehicles’ electric boost—which works with the hydraulic power steering system—fails, requiring extra force to manage the car; not all drivers have the strength to do this. In some cases, said the LA Times, this problem led to crashes.

Of note, in its so-called technical service bulletins—what the LA Times described as notices just short of recall notices—Mazda alerted its dealers to be aware of “power-steering assist problems,” reported the LA Times.

Because Mazda does not have all the parts needed for the fix, some owners will receive information on the recall in a mailing to begin mid-September; however, other owners might not be advised until February 2011, said the NHTSA, wrote the LA Times. “It is not unusual to do this as you get the parts into the system,” said Jay Amestoy, quoted the LA Times. Mazda customer assistance can be reached at (800) 222-5500; the NHTSA can be reached at (888) 327-4236.

The GM recall involves 2009-2010 model year Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook—most being crossovers/SUVs sold in the United States; however a few thousand were sold in Canada, Mexico, China, and Saudi Arabia, reported the LA Times.

GM became aware of the belt buckle issue following dealer warranty work and noted it was unaware of incidents involving belts not performing appropriately in a crash, said the LA Times. The damage could occur when seats, after being folded down, were returned to their upright position, explained the LA Times. “Because of the potential for a false-latch condition, we want customers to return their vehicles to have the recall repair performed as soon as possible,” said Jeff Boyer, GM executive director of safety, quoted the LA Times, which said owners should start receiving letters this month to make no-charge dealer inspection, and repair appointments.

Late last month we wrote that Toyota Motor Corp. issued a recall of 412,000 passenger cars for steering problems, citing The Associated Press (AP). According to Toyota, three accidents were reported in connection to the defect, to date.

Meanwhile, 8.5 million vehicles have been recalled globally by Toyota since October for a growing series of problems. And, in addition to the over 200 lawsuits Toyota faces in the U.S. alone over accidents, decreased resale values, and a stock drop, said the AP, Toyota faces two investigations; the most recent involving a federal grand jury probe into steering-related defects in its vehicles, and possibly how it handled a 2005 recall.

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