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NHTSA Investigates Stalling SUV's And Air Bag Malfunctions

DETROIT, Jan 14, 2003; Reuters reported that U.S. auto safety regulators have opened an investigation into 150,000 General Motors Corp. <GM.N> sport utility vehicles after 36 reports of engines stalling without warning.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the complaints involve 2002 GMC Envoys and 2002 Oldsmobile Bravadas; the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, which shares the same mechanical parts is not under investigation.

NHTSA says the complaints allege the SUVs stalled at speeds up to 75 miles per hour, causing steering and braking to fail. In some cases the engines could not be restarted and the vehicles had to be towed.

The agency also opened an investigation into 480,000 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans from the 2000 model year after one report of an air bag failing to deploy in a fatal crash. The driver was wearing a seat belt, but suffered fatal head injuries when he lost control of his Taurus and rammed a concrete bridge rail, NHTSA said.