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August 17, 2010
G.M. Recalls 243,000 Crossover Vehicles for Seat Belt Problem

DETROIT — General Motors said Tuesday that it was recalling 243,000 large crossover vehicles to check for a problem that could prevent their rear seat belts from latching safely.

The recall covers the 2009 and 2010 Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook. All but a few thousand were sold in the United States.

G.M. said in a statement that dealers would inspect the seat belts “for damage that in rare cases could make an occupant think the belt is properly latched when it isn’t.” The damage can occur in the second row of the three-row vehicles as the seat is returned to an upright position after being folded flat.

“Because of the potential for a false-latch condition, we want customers to return their vehicles to have the recall repair performed as soon as possible,” Jeff Boyer, G.M.’s executive director of safety, said.

G.M.’s announcement is the latest in a string of recalls this year for the auto industry as federal regulators, in the wake of Toyota’s recent quality problems, push for carmakers to identify and fix defects faster. On Monday, the South Korean automaker Kia initiated a recall for a small crossover, the Soul, in response to a single complaint about a complete loss of steering.

Toyota’s North American quality chief, Steve St. Angelo, said this month that the industry was on pace to recall 20 million vehicles this year, the most since 2004. Toyota has recalled more than eight million vehicles since November as it tries to resolve complaints about sudden acceleration.

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