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GM Recalls 4 million 2000-04 Full-size Pickups

Automaker Will Replace Suspect Tailgate Support Cables

DETROIT March 18, 2004; General Motors is recalling about 4 million 2000-2004 model-year full-size pickups worldwide to replace tailgate support cables that may corrode and fracture.

The models involved are certain 2000-2004 Chevrolet Silverado's and GMC Sierra's built between October 1999 and October 2003. Also, some 2002-04 Chevrolet Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT trucks built between March 2001 and October 2003 are being recalled. Of the total, about 3.7 million of the vehicles are in the U.S., approximately 325,000 are in Canada, and about 93,000 are in Mexico. The remaining vehicles are outside these countries. In these models, GM will replace the existing galvanized, braided steel support cables with stainless steel support cables. These replacements will be performed at no cost to the customers.

If the cables are corroded, they may fracture when loads are applied to the tailgate. If both cables were to fracture, the tailgate would open an additional ten-degrees, rest on the top surface of the rear bumper, and remain supported by the bumper. The tailgate would drop to a lower position only if the owner had previously removed the rear bumper.

There have been reports of 134 minor injuries related to this condition but no crashes or fatalities.

GM had been cooperating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on an investigation related to the tailgate support cable corrosion. News reports on February 23, 2004 announced NHTSA's upgrade of this investigation from a preliminary evaluation to an engineering analysis.

"Working with our internal feedback system and NHTSA, we were able to act quickly on this issue," said Kevin Williams, vice president of GM North America Quality. "Our priorities are to ensure that our customers are aware of this field action and provide the replacement cables in as timely a manner as possible."

Due to the large number of vehicles involved in this recall, the replacement cables will not be available immediately, so the notification and repair process will occur in phases. However, in the meantime, GM will advise owners to avoid applying direct loads to the tailgate until the cables can be inspected and, if necessary, replaced. During the third quarter of this year, GM will begin notifying the first round of owners of the vehicles involved in this recall. They will be instructed to contact their Chevrolet, GMC, or Cadillac dealers to arrange for service. GM will continue this cadence of notification and replacement throughout the year until all vehicles receive the stainless steel support cables. If an owner experiences a fracture of the tailgate support cables, the customer should contact the dealer to arrange for service as soon as possible.

General Motors Corp. the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, employs about 325,000 people globally. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in 192 countries. In 2003, GM sold nearly 8.6 million cars and trucks, about 15 percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters are at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's corporate web site at www.gm.com.