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Mercedes E-Class Investigated for Faulty Air Bags

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars are under investigation by U.S. regulators because air bags in the vehicles may not always deploy properly in crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

About 100,000 cars from the 2005 and 2006 model years may be affected, NHTSA said on its website today. The auto safety agency said it received four complaints about failures in the module-wiring harness of the steering column, which can result in air bags failing to inflate in frontal crashes. No injury has been reported.

The issue arises when steering wheels are raised into a high position by the driver, said Robert Moran, a spokesman at the U.S. unit of Mercedes in Montvale, New Jersey.

“If a customer puts that steering wheel at a very raised position, if your steering wheel is telescoped all the way up, the wiring harness may be a little too short,” Moran said in a telephone interview. “It is the kind of thing if your light went on and you went to the dealer, they would be able to rectify that.”

Daimler, based in Stuttgart, Germany, is the world’s second-largest maker of luxury cars after Munich-based Bayerische Motoren Werke AG.

The U.S. Congress has focused more on auto safety this year following Toyota Motor Corp.’s record recalls for defects that may cause unintended acceleration. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland is scheduled to testify tomorrow at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on legislation to increase regulation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at agreilingkea@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net.

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