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DaimlerChrysler M-Class Vehicles' Steering Investigated By NHTSA

WASHINGTON February 20, 2003; Dan Hart writing for Bloomberg reported that DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes M-Class sport-utilities are being investigated by U.S. regulators because of reports of power-steering fluid leaks that might affect 133,000 of the vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its Web site that it began an inquiry of 1999 to 2001 models of the ML320 and has received seven complaints that fluid leaked because a hose clamp failed. No accidents, injuries or fires related to the problem have been reported, the agency said. The company didn't immediately respond to requests to comment.

The federal inquiries can result in recalls or findings of no defect. The U.S. Department of Transportation agency posts recalls and investigations on its Web site daily to provide consumers with access to the information.

U.S. sales of M-Class vehicles fell 13 percent last year to 39,680, compared with a total gain of 3.2 percent to 213,225 fro Mercedes. The unit of Stuttgart, Germany-based DaimlerChrysler builds the vehicles in Vance, Alabama.