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Benz considers local M-Class recall

Mat matters: Mercedes-Benz is set to recall thousands of floor mats sold by dealers as accessories in the US as they are a potential cause of unintended acceleration.

Mercedes assesses local impact as M-Class recalled in US over accessory floor mats

14 Aug 2012

MERCEDES-BENZ Australia is trying to establish how many of the accessory floor mats that have sparked an overseas recall on current-generation M-Class SUV have been sold in Australia before deciding whether to take action.

The ‘all season’ floor mats are to be recalled in the US because they could cause the accelerator pedal to get stuck, potentially increasing the risk of an accident.

Mercedes-Benz Australia corporate communications manager Jerry Stamoulis told GoAuto there have been no reported incidents in Australia and that the M-Class has a safety technology designed to prevent unintended acceleration when both brake and accelerator pedals are simultaneously applied.

He added that Benz will replace any affected mats free of charge.

“When numbers have been established we will go through our official recall process, but until then we do not want to cause unnecessary concern,” said Mr Stamoulis.

Standard M-Class floor mats are not affected.

Benz first took action last week in the US, where the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recalls website reports 8675 affected floor mats have been sold.

4 center imageLeft: Chrysler V6 Pentastar engine.

Official documents filed with NHTSA by the Stuttgart-based luxury car-maker said the “floor mat may not fully conform to the contour of the vehicle’s floor pan as intended”.

It goes on to describe a potential scenario in which the mat causes the accelerator pedal to retract more slowly than usual following the use of full-throttle, resulting in the vehicle not decelerating as expected when the driver backs off.

The M-Class recall echoes part of the unintended acceleration dramas suffered by Toyota in recent years.

Meanwhile, former Benz partner Chrysler is reportedly replacing the cylinder heads on thousands of its 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 petrol engines under warranty in the US.

According to Automotive News, the problem results in a ‘ticking’ sound from the engine, a dashboard warning light, stalling and “other problems”, but potentially affects a batch of only about 7500 of the approximately 1.5 million Pentastar engines produced.

Fiat-Chrysler Group Australia corporate affairs director Lenore Fletcher told GoAuto the local outfit has not received any internal technical bulletins and was aware of no problems reported by customers or dealers.

A Chrysler executive contacted by Automotive News said “the problem arises only with an unusual combination of factors, such as low-quality fuel and unspecified driving conditions”.

It is possible the combination of factors experienced by US customers cannot be replicated in Australia, particularly as this country has different fuel standards.

The high-tech Pentastar engine is a cornerstone of Chrysler’s powertrain line-up, featuring in many of its top sellers, including the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler and Chrysler 300.

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