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by Tim Beissmann

Holden is investigating whether its Australian-made Holden Cruze small car has a fire-related safety defect after roughly half a million Chevrolet-badged Cruze sedans produced in the US were recalled over the weekend.

A total of 475,418 Chevrolet Cruze sedans manufactured between October 2, 2009 and May 31, 2012 at General Motors’ Lordstown, Ohio plant have been recalled to repair a defect that could see oil come into contact with hot engine or exhaust system surfaces, potentially starting a fire.

The recall affects 413,418 Cruzes sold in the US, 61,299 in Canada and 701 in Israel.

Holden says it is aware of the recall initiated by GM North America and is currently investigating its own vehicles to guarantee their safety.

“We are not aware of any cases of engine compartment fires in Australia or New Zealand related to the condition being investigated in North America,” Holden said in a statement.

“We are currently assessing if this condition affects our Holden Cruze vehicles.

“Safety is our first priority and we will contact our customers directly with any further information on this matter.”

The official recall notice published by the US government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains:

“Spilled or dripping oil (such as after an oil change) may collect in the engine shield (bellypan) near hot engine or exhaust system surfaces. As a result, the oil and engine shield may ignite and burn.

“Either condition could result in an engine compartment fire, possibly causing injury or death.”

In a separate safety recall, GM will inspect certain Cruze vehicles included in the first recall to make sure all welds in the rear compartment are properly applied. GM says up to 249 cars could be affected by the secondary defect.

There have been no reports of crashes or injuries related to either recall.

GM says Chevrolet dealers will modify the engine shield of recalled vehicles to prevent fluid from contacting the shield, and in vehicles with a manual transmission a protective tape will be applied to the electric power steering wire harness.

Modifying the engine shield will take about 30 minutes to complete, while repairing the weld defect will take approximately three hours.

The Cruze is one of GM’s most popular models around the world. It is produced in 10 countries, including Australia, the US, Brazil, China, India, Kazakhstan, Russia, Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand. No other production plant has announced a recall at this stage.

The Cruze is Holden’s top-selling model in Australia, with 13,380 sold across the country between January and May.




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