DETROIT Dec 24 U.S. safety regulators upgraded
an investigation into more than 250,000 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
cars for possible failure of the rear lights.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
upgraded its probe to an engineering analysis of 252,867 C-Class
cars, from model years 2008 through 2011, because the rear
lighting could fail due to an overheated electrical connector,
according to documents filed online.
An engineering analysis is a step that could result in a
recall of the vehicles by the regulator.
In some cases, the overheated connector resulted in melting,
smoke or fire.
Regulators and Mercedes, a unit of Germany's Daimler AG
, have received 402 complaints about the issue,
including five incidents alleging fire, and one injury,
according to the NHTSA documents.
A Mercedes spokesman said the company was cooperating with
A preliminary evaluation of the problem was initially opened
in July after NHTSA received 21 reports of rear light assembly
failure due to the melted electrical connector or housing.
Mercedes said the overheating of the ground wire was caused
by corrosion between the connectors in the ground circuit to the
tail light, according to the documents.
Analysis of the complaint data indicated an increased
likelihood of failure as the vehicles age, so the investigation
was upgraded to further study the risks and frequency of the
issue, according to the NHTSA documents.