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NHTSA OPENS SAFETY INVESTIGATION OF HYUNDAI EXCEL CARS

 NHTSA OPENS SAFETY INVESTIGATION OF HYUNDAI EXCEL CARS
 N?GTON, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today opened a formal safety defect investigation of the manual transmissions in half a million 1986-1989 Hyundai automobiles.
 The suspected safety defect involves a malfunction of the manual transmissions that causes the drive wheels of the car to suddenly seize or "lock up" while the car is in motion, according to NHTSA Administrator Marion C. Blakey. This can cause a skid, resulting in an abrupt and uncontrolled stop in the road. When the problem occurs, there are no brake lights to warn other drivers, creating the danger of a rear-end crash. A vehicle stranded in an intersection could be involved in a side crash.
 Hyundai refused NHTSA's request for a voluntary recall, based on the safety agency's preliminary investigation of the problem. Opening a formal safety defect investigation is a step in the process that may result in a recall order from NHTSA.
 Most lock-ups have occurred at low speeds, between 10 and 15 mph, but several have been reported at speeds up to 60 mph. The agency has received 40 complaints from owners, and Hyundai provided 128 owner reports and 818 warranty claims. There are reports of 10 accidents and seven injuries, but no fatalities.
 "We regard this as a serious safety matter and we encourage owners and operators of Hyundai Excels who have experienced problems with their transmissions to assist us by calling the agency's toll- free Auto Safety Hotline," Blakey said. The hotline number is 800-424-9393. In the Washington area the number is 202-366-0123.
 -0- 9/28/92
 /CONTACT: Skipp Calvert or Barry McCahill of the U.S. Department of Transportation, 202-366-9550/ CO: U.S. Department of Transportation; National Highway Traffic
 Safety Administration ST: District of Columbia IN: AUT SU:


IH -- DC009 -- 3922 09/28/92 11:09 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 28, 1992
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