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BMW Mini Cooper Scrutinized by U.S. for Steering Flaws

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG’s Mini Cooper cars are under investigation by the U.S. auto-safety regulator for possible defects that can cause the power steering to fail, raising the risk of a crash.

Mini Coopers from model years 2004 and 2005 have been the subject of 54 complaints about unexpected power-steering loss, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today on its website. An estimated 80,000 vehicles are being investigated, including the first models introduced in the U.S.

The company will provide information sought by the agency, said Tom Kowaleski, a U.S.-based spokesman for BMW of Munich.

NHTSA in July opened an investigation into the BMW Z4’s power steering following 107 complaints and one crash involving vehicles from the 2003 to 2005 model years.

Mini Cooper drivers in their complaints reported intermittent power-steering failure that technicians were unable to replicate, NHTSA said.

While the Mini Cooper and Z4 investigations involve power-steering failures, the cars use different systems, said Matt Russell, a BMW product and technology spokesman. The Mini uses electrohydraulic power steering and the Z4 has an electric system, he said.

“There is no connection between them that we know of,” Russell said.

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