The US auto-safety regulator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), had opened investigations into BMW and Mazda cars for probable defects that can result in the failure of power steering, increasing the risk of accidents due to loss of vehicle control.
The NHTSA investigations involve a total of 48,764 BMW Z4 sports cars sold from 2003 to 2005 model years; and 293,787 Mazda3 cars from 2007 to 2009.
According to the details forwarded by NHTSA, over 140 complaints have been received related to a loss of power steering and more than 342,000 vehicles may lead to recalls. It appears that the model year 2003-2005 BMW Z4s have had one crash and 107 complaints related to this problem. The model year 2007-2009 Mazda3s had three reported crashes and 33 complaints.
The cause of the failure with the BMW models isn't as clear, though the Z4 is reputedly susceptible to losing power assistance at speeds higher than 45 mph and temperatures greater than 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The investigation process has been accelerated, following a massive safety crisis at Toyota Motor Corp, resulting in the global recall of over 10 million vehicles.
"We will provide all the information they request and we cooperate with them always at these levels," said Tom Kowaleski, a U.S.-based spokesman for BMW.
Barnes, a U.S. spokesman for Hiroshima, Japan-based Mazda, said that he's aware of the NHTSA concern and added that "We are working hand-in-hand with NHTSA on the investigation."
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