GM Recalling Nearly 300,000 Saturn Sedans, Wagons Because of Problems With Brake, Tail Lights

WASHINGTON June 3, 2005; Ken Thomas writing for the AP reported that General Motors Corp. said Friday it would recall nearly 300,000 Saturn L Series sedans and wagons because of problems with brake and tail lights.

The problem could make it difficult for the driver of another vehicle to realize the Saturn's brakes were being applied and lead to a rear-end crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

GM, the world's largest automaker, said in some vehicles the plastic coating in the rear tail lamp assembly could become distorted if the brake light remains on for an extended period of time. It could make the brake or tail light inoperable or cause it to short circuit, leading to the failure of both brake lamps and the center, high-mounted stop lamp.

The defect was found in certain 2000-2002 model years of the L-Series sedan and 2000-2004 model year L-Series wagon, potentially affecting 291,652 vehicles.

The L-Series went out of production in January.

GM said there has been at least 50 complaints and two crashes -- but no injuries -- associated with the problem. The recall is expected to begin in September.

In April, 22,000 of the L-Series wagons from the 2002-2004 model year were recalled because they were built with center and passenger side rear seat belt anchors that did not comply with U.S. and Canadian safety standards.

The automaker has been battling sluggish sales, rising health care costs, higher gasoline prices and a loss of market share. GM said earlier this week it would cut third-quarter production by more than 100,000 vehicles, or 9 percent.

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