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Mercedes recalls U.S.C-Class cars for exploding battery

DETROIT, Jan 25 Reuters is reporting that DaimlerChrysler AG said on Friday that it has recalled about 65,000 1998-99 Mercedes C-Class cars in the United States following five complaints of exploding batteries, resulting in one injury from flying acid and debris.

``There have been a couple of battery explosions. The recall is to recommend that people bring the cars to dealerships,'' said Mercedes spokesman Jim Resnick.

The explosions occurred when the electrolyte fluid levels in the battery fell to low levels. Owners should have the batteries inspected during every tune-up, approximately each year or 15,000 miles (24,140 km) driven, Resnick said.

Mercedes dealers will inspect the batteries on the recalled vehicles free of charge, and replace them if necessary.

General Motors Corp., meanwhile, said on Friday that it has recalled 546,000 of its 2000-01 Chevrolet Blazer, GMC Jimmy and Oldsmobile Bravada mid-size sport utility vehicles following complaints of faulty brake and hazard lights. The recalled cars were sold in countries around the world, GM said.

GM, the world's largest automaker, said it had two reports of accidents that may have been related to the rear brake, and hazard lights failing to illuminate. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Friday that it had six complaints of the faulty lights, but no reported crashes or injuries.

GM said it is testing replacement parts and will later ship them to dealers who will inspect the recalled vehicles and, if necessary, repair the lights at no cost.

GM said the recall does not include the all-new 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, and Oldsmobile Bravada SUVs.

In addition, the NHTSA said it has opened a preliminary evaluation of 100 complaints of stalling engines in 2001-02 model year versions of Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Escape and Mazda Motor Corp.'s Mazda Tribute compact SUVs equipped with the 3-liter V6 Duratec engine.

Owners of 63 of the 100 vehicles have had them repaired more than once, the agency said, replacing a variety of components, such as the electronic engine control, the ignition starter switch and the fuel pump. Both the Escape and the Tribute have racked up strong sales since their introduction in 2000 despite numerous recalls.

NHTSA also upgraded investigations into several of GM's full-size sport utility vehicles following complaints of problem seat belts.

The agency said it had one report of a passenger sitting in the second row seat being thrown partly through a window during a side-impact crash when the seat belt buckle detached from the seat. The investigation covers nearly 795,000 1995-1999 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, and 1998-2000 GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade full-size SUVs sold around the world. GM has changed the design of the seat belt anchor for the 2000 model year SUVs, the agency said.

NHTSA also said it had 92 complaints of the upper part of the front seats collapsing backward in 1992-1995 Chevrolet Blazer, Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, causing two crashes and one injury. An additional seven people reported injuries which were not incurred in a crash, resulting in lower back pain, sprained neck and nerve damage, NHTSA said.