SUVs Made by Ford and Mazda Under Scrutiny for Accelerator Issue

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has opened a preliminary investigation after several incidents, including a fatal accident last January.

U.S. authorities on Wednesday announced an investigation into problems with stuck accelerators in Ford and Mazda sport-utility vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has opened a preliminary investigation after several incidents, including a fatal accident last January.

The NHTSA said there are 730,000 SUVs that have "potential failure of the throttle to return to idle when the accelerator pedal has been released."

The agency said it opened the probe after receiving 99 complaints about throttles becoming stuck: 68 from owners of Ford Escapes and 31 from owners of Mazda Tributes.

The SUVs covered in the probe are model years 2002-2004 for both SUVs.

"Some of the complaints, including a fatal crash incident that occurred in January 2012, allege that the failure was caused by interference between the speed-control cable and the appearance cover at the throttle-body cam," the agency said.

Some complaints noted that the "stuck throttle" problem might have been related to repairs performed as part of safety recalls begun in 2004.

In December 2004, Ford (IW 500/6) sent letters to dealers with the repair instructions and service procedure for its recall, and followed up with an updated repair procedure in October 2005.

Mazda (IW 1000/149), Japan's fifth-largest carmaker by volume, sent letters to dealers in January 2005 and did not send an update, the NHTSA said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012   

TAGS: Regulations
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