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Holden recalls 135,000 cars

Cornering issues: Power steering hose failures were first reported during media testing of VY Commodore.

Holden reveals Commodore power steering hoses could rupture during cornering

Holden logo13 May 2004

By BRUCE NEWTON

HOLDEN has announced the recall of 135,000 locally-built sedans, wagons and utilities to rectify a problem that could affect vehicle control during cornering and lead to accidents.

The problem centres around a faulty power steering hose that could rupture while cornering. This would instantly make the steering much heavier and more difficult.

The recall will affect all VY Commodores, including Calais and Crewman one-tonne, utility and HSV models, built between August 26, 2002 and September 2, 2003, and Statesman, Caprice and HSV Grange models built between March 20, 2003 and September 2, 2003. The recall does not affect Monaro It affects 115,000 V8 and V6 cars sold in Australia, 11,000 V8s exported to the Middle East and 8500 V8 and V6 vehicles shipped to New Zealand.

The problem was first identified during media road testing in late 2002. Holden spokesman Jason Laird explained to ABC Radio why the recall had not been initiated sooner.

“It was a case of being able to identify what the cause was and … the first few cases that came through, and there've only been 17 warranty claims on these 135,000 cars, were under fairly extreme conditions. They were automotive media drive tests, and things where cars were being treated at the fairly, at the top end of the scale of what a car was expected to do.

“So the core understanding of a recall is being able to identify firstly what the root cause is, and secondly being able to identify how that can be either replaced or repaired or somehow fixed.” Mr Laird said Holden’s investigations had not revealed any evidence of accidents being caused by the fault.

“It should be noted that what would occur if a hose ruptures and the cooling fluid runs out, that eventually the driver will not have power steering available to them. That doesn't mean they don't have control of the vehicle. What it means is that the power steering that everyone's come to know and love as part of everyday life is not available to them, and obviously the steering would become much heavier.” It is estimated it will cost Holden millions of dollars to rectify the faulty $8 part. Replacement of the hoses, one on V6 cars and two on V8s, would take about 30 minutes.

Holden has issues a service bulletins to retailers and will issue letters to customers this week. Advertisements will appear in major newspapers on Monday, May 17.

The recall is a blow for Holden, which has been steadily working to improve its quality over the last few years.

It last issued a safety recall for a locally built car in December 2003 to fix faulty seat memory module wiring harnesses on Monaros and HSV Coupes.

This is the biggest recall since 1996, when VR and VS Commodores suffered auto transmnission fluid leakage.

In recent years there have also been consistent complaints about Gen III 5.7-litre V8 it employs because of oil consumption and excessive noise, although this issue has not bee subject to a recall.

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