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GM Recalls 2004 Chevrolet Malibus

DETROIT April 19, 2004; Reuters reporteds that General Motors Corp. said on Monday it has recalled 108,000 of its 2004 Chevrolet Malibu sedans to reprogram an anti-lock brake system and fix a seat belt anchor that could detach.

GM, which has been hit by a high number of recalls this year, said 95,000 of the recalled vehicles are in the United States, about 8,300 are in Canada and the rest are elsewhere.

During a side-impact crash test conducted by U.S. authorities earlier this year, the end of the driver-side seat belt detached. GM determined that a retainer inserted near the seat belt anchor will help protect the belt from detaching in the event of a severe side impact. There have been no reports of incidents or injuries related to the seat belt detaching, GM said.

While fixing the seat belt, GM will also reprogram the anti-lock braking system in about 73,000 of these vehicles. While conducting tests on the Malibus in February, GM noticed that the stopping distance increased during braking during low speeds of about 3 miles per hour (5 km per hour).

"It doesn't occur at a faster speed, just this extremely low speed," GM spokesman Jim Schell said. "We think it's a rare occurrence."

GM said that one customer also noticed the problem, caused by an erratic rear-wheel speed sensor signal which could trigger the anti-lock brakes.

GM will delay notifying consumers about the recall until June while it validates the repairs for the vehicle, Schell said.

Despite surveys showing improved quality and durability by Detroit automakers, GM has been hit by a high number of recalls this year, including one last month that covered more than 4 million full-size pickup trucks to replace tailgate support cables.

The recalls have done little to help GM lure back Americans who have frequently turned to Japanese vehicles for their superior quality and durability.