GM to recall Cadillac DeVilles because of faulty air bags

Friday, October 20th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ General Motors Corp. plans to recall 224,000 Cadillac DeVilles because the side-impact air bags can deploy without a collision.

GM said it will replace the side-impact sensing module on the 1998 and 1999 model year cars once parts are available, which GM spokesman Greg Martin said would be sometime between January and March.

``Because these are past model years and the DeVille has been completely redesigned, we basically have to go back and remanufacture these parts,'' Martin said.

GM received 306 complaints that the side air bag on the driver's or passenger's side deployed without cause, including reports of one accident and 61 minor injuries. Martin said most of the injured suffered slight bruises.

The company sent a letter to DeVille owners last month telling them not to lean on the doors while driving. It also warned that if the air bag light stays on when the vehicle is started, the driver should immediately park and call for roadside assistance.

The recall announcement ends an investigation the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began in February.

The agency is upgrading another investigation of 1.2 million GM trucks that may have faulty headlights, according to a monthly report issued Friday. The investigation covers 1995 and 1996 model years of the Sierra, Suburban, Yukon, Tahoe and C/K trucks.

According to NHTSA, there may be an electrical problem that could cause the headlights to suddenly fail.

GM has received nearly 70,000 warranty claims on the problem. Three accidents have been three accidents reported, but no injuries or fatalities.

NHTSA opens any safety investigation with a preliminary inquiry, in which the government and manufacturer exchange paperwork, including any complaints.

The investigation then may be upgraded to an engineering analysis, in which engineers study parts to see if they are defective. That is the status of the GM truck case, An investigation eventually can lead to a recall.

NHTSA also opened a preliminary inquiry of 124,826 Jeep Wranglers with manual transmissions from model years 1994 and 1995. The agency received 11 complaints that the parking brake failed. Seven of the complaints indicated the parking brake self-released and the vehicle rolled away and crashed.