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SUV's From GM and Mazda Recalled

WASHINGTON April 15, 2004; The AP reported that Mazda is recalling 106,000 Tribute sport utility vehicles because they can stall without warning, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday. Separately, General Motors announced a recall because of seat belt defects that could affect up to 1.8 million SUVs.

Involved in the Mazda recall are Tributes from the 2001-2003 model years with 3-liter, V6 engines.

In a letter sent to NHTSA in May 2002, Mazda said the engine stalling didn't present "an unreasonable risk to motor safety." At that time, Mazda said it had received 2,087 reports of stalling and that accidents resulted in three cases.

The Tribute is similar to the Ford Escape, which was recalled earlier this week for the same defect. Ford said engine stalling in the Escape had caused eight minor accidents.

Mazda dealers will reprogram the Tribute for free as part of the recall.

Also Thursday, General Motors Corp. said it will recall some of its 2001 and 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Oldsmobile Bravada SUVs because their seat belts don't meet federal safety standards.

GM spokesman Jim Schell said the company is still determining which of its SUVs need to have their seat belts replaced, but the recall could affect up to 1.8 million vehicles. GM said the seat belt defect wouldn't affect safety, but NHTSA disagreed.


DETROIT, April 14, 2004; Reuters reported that General Motors Corp. will recall some of its 2001 and 2002 mid-size sport utility vehicles after federal safety regulators determined a need to fix some seat belts that were damaged in transit.

An undetermined number of seat belts in the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Oldsmobile Bravada SUVs were damaged, impacting the retractors, GM spokesman Jim Schell said.

GM believes that the damage was "inconsequential" to passenger safety, but the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration turned down its request to rule the damage as such, Schell said.

He said the seat belts fail to fully comply with federal safety standards, and GM will fix them.

"We're still looking through the data and determining all the necessary steps" for a recall, including how the seat belts will be fixed and the number of affected vehicles, Schell said.

Despite surveys showing GM's improvement in quality and durability, its mid-size SUVs have been recalled repeatedly.

Last month, GM said it will recall more than 4 million full-size pickup trucks to replace tailgate support cables that could corrode and fracture. During one week in February, GM announced three major recalls, including about 636,000 mid-size SUVs for a problem involving the electrical system.