US regulator probes Mazda, BMW steering complaints

WASHINGTON, July 2 (BestGrowthStock) – More than 342,000 cars made
by Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T: ) and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG
(BMWG.DE: ) are under investigation by the U.S. auto safety
regulator for possible steering defects that could lead to loss
of vehicle control.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on
Friday it opened probes into 293,787 Mazda3 cars from the 2007
to 2009 model years, and 48,764 BMW Z4 sports cars from 2003 to
2005.

In both cases, NHTSA is in the earliest stages of a formal
review that could lead to recalls. The agency has stepped up
its probes into possible vehicle defects after a massive safety
crisis at Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: ) led to the recall of more
than 10 million vehicles worldwide.

Toyota earlier said on Friday it would recall 270,000 Lexus
and Toyota cars to replace faulty valve springs that may cause
engine stalling.

NHTSA said it received 33 complaints about Mazda3 models
that alleged a loss of power steering assist while driving,
requiring excessive force by the driver to main control. Three
of the complaints alleged that the loss of steering control
caused crashes. The vehicle uses an electrically actuated
hydraulic power steering system, the agency said.

On the BMW Z4s, NHTSA said it received 107 complaints
alleging a loss of power-assisted steering. The complaints
stated that the steering wheel sticks, binds or locks up,
requiring increased steering effort to maintain control and
increasing the potential to over-steer the vehicle.

The failures typically occurred at higher vehicle speeds
over 45 miles per hour and at warmer temperatures above 75
degrees F. One complaint involved a crash, and several
complaints reported loss of vehicle control or “near-miss
incidents.”

There were no fatalities reported among the Mazda3 and BMW
Z4 complaints, the agency said.
(Reporting by David Lawder, editing by Philip Barbara)

US regulator probes Mazda, BMW steering complaints