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Mazda to Recall, Repair MPV Minivans

March 29, 2000|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Mazda North American Operations said Tuesday that it is asking owners of 20,000 of its model-year 2000 MPV minivans to take them to their local dealers to reinforce the front bumpers.

The repair announcement came a day before the expected airing tonight of a segment on the NBC newsmagazine program "Dateline" about poor bumper performance in crash tests.

Additionally, the Irvine-based unit of Mazda Motor Corp. of Japan said it is recalling 30,000 of the minivans to fix a powertrain control module.

The vans with faulty control modules that must be reprogrammed were built between March 31 and Nov. 28, 1999. The number being recalled includes vehicles that have not yet been sold.

Mazda said some of the vans' modules have the wrong programming, which violates federal on-board diagnostic requirements.

The company also said it will reinforce the front bumpers on all 35,000 model-year 2000 MPVs built before March 13, because the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that their front bumpers do not meet expectations for low-speed crashes. The bumpers do, however, comply with federal safety standards, Mazda said.

About 15,000 of the vans built for the U.S. have not yet been sold, and bumper repairs on them will be made at dealerships or Mazda storage facilities, the company said.

The repairs are expected to take less than an hour, Mazda said.

MPVs with redesigned front bumpers are scheduled to begin arriving at dealer showrooms by the end of April.

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