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Feds Investigate GM Vehicle Fires

Feb 21, 2002 | AP

The government has opened two separate investigations into reported electrical fires in General Motors Corp. vehicles.

One investigation involves 1995-1997 models of the Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire. The other is for 1998 C/K trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (news - web sites) has received 18 reports alleging a steering column fire in a Cavalier or Sunfire. Ten complaints said the ignition was off when the fire started, and two people reportedly were injured by smoke inhalation.

Six C/K truck owners complained of a fire inside the driver side door. Most said it started at the power mirror switch.

The investigations were opened in January and announced Thursday as parts of the agency's monthly defect report. The agency has not determined how many of the vehicles are on the road.

At this point in the cases, the agency is exchanging paperwork with the manufacturer. Investigations can lead to a recall, but many are dropped.

The government also began an investigation into the Audi A4 and A6 after reports that two people died and two others were injured because of an alleged problem with the pedals. The reports said the brackets that attach the brake and clutch pedals fractured while driving and led to a crash.

The investigation involves 210,626 of the vehicles from the 1998-2001 model years.

The monthly report showed that Volkswagen is recalling 1993-2000 models of the Jetta, Passat and Cabrio because the fuel tank filler neck can be damaged by a rear tire that has gone flat. That will end an investigation regulators opened in December 2000.

The recall involves about 311,000 vehicles. Dealers will install a liner in the wheel well to protect the filler neck.

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