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Ford's Volvo 850 cars investigated gasoline leaks

WASHINGTON January 23, 2003; Dan Hart writing for Bloomberg reported that Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo 850 Series sedans and wagons are being investigated by U.S. regulators because of reports of gasoline leaks that might affect 198,000 of the 1993 to 1996 models.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began its inquiry Jan. 16 and has received 15 complaints of leaks from fuel tanks, the agency said on its Web site. No accidents, injuries or fires have been reported in connection with the problem, said Dan Johnston, a spokesman for the Ford unit.

Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich., is cooperating with the agency, Johnston said.

The vehicles affected by the U.S. investigation were built before Ford acquired the Volvo car business in 1999. The inquiries can result in recalls or findings of no defect. The Transportation Department agency posts recalls and investigations on its Web site each week to give consumers access to the information.

The agency last month said Volvo recalled 65,000 of its 1996 and 1997 model year 850 station wagons because "excessive compression" could cause seat heaters to catch fire. The automaker had received reports of 50 incidents and three injury claims, according to the U.S. regulator.