Mercedes-Benz recalls almost 103,000 SUVs in U.S.

CHICAGO, Sept 25 Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:19pm EDT

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CHICAGO, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Daimler AG's (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes-Benz has recalled almost 103,000 sport utility vehicles because of a defect that could cause a loss of power steering, U.S. safety regulators said on Thursday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said 102,954 Mercedes M-Class SUVs from model years 1998 to 2003 were covered by the recall.

A clamp used to secure a cooling hose for power-steering systems on the vehicles may not hold with enough force, NHTSA said in the recall notice posted on its website.

That loose hose connection could result in diminished power steering and could damage the power steering pump on the vehicles, NHTSA said.

"This could result in a loss of control and a crash without warning," NHTSA said.

A Mercedes spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment. It was not immediately clear whether any accidents had been reported as a result of the power steering problem.

NHTSA said an earlier recall repair performed on the M-Class SUVs might not have fixed the problem. All of the vehicles repaired for the defect before Nov. 15, 2003, will be covered by the recall for repair again, the agency said.

The recall is expected to begin in October, NHTSA said.

Owners of the M-Class SUVs with questions can contact Mercedes-Benz at 1-800-367-6372. (Reporting by Ben Klayman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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