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DETROIT, March 12 (Reuters) - U.S. safety regulators may push General Motors Co to greatly expand its 2009 recall of Pontiac G6 midsize cars after receiving more complaints about faulty brake lights, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Tuesday.
This is the second time in as many months that NHTSA has raised the possibility that GM will have to widen the scope of its original brake lamp recall, which affected 8,000 Pontiac G6 cars made for the 2005 and 2006 model years.
Last month, NHTSA said it was weighing whether GM will have to recall a total of 550,000 Pontiac G6 sedans made for the 2005 through 2008 model years. Regulators said they got more than 200 complaints from those owners about defective brake lamps.
Now the agency is investigating similar complaints from owners of the 2004-2011 Chevrolet Malibu and 2007-2009 Saturn Aura. NHTSA is also looking into reports from 2009-2010 Pontiac G6 owners who were not part of GM's January 2009 recall.
The agency said they could not determine the potential size of the brake lamp recall until getting details from GM. NHTSA asked the automaker to provide details about the cars under investigation, such as consumer complaints of the brake lamps, by March 29.
"We are continuing to cooperate with the NHTSA and will respond to the agency's questions," GM spokesman Alan Adler said in an email Tuesday. "It is premature to discuss a recall."
The brake lamp problem stems from corrosion in the wiring connector, according to documents posted on NHTSA's website.
In some cases, the lights would illuminate when the driver had not pressed the brake pedal. In other cases, the lights did work even when the driver was pushing the pedal down, increasing the risk of a crash, NHTSA documents show.
GM dropped the Pontiac and Saturn brands as part of a broad overhaul of the largest U.S. automaker that included cutting jobs and factories. GM exited bankruptcy protection in 2009.