DETROIT, March 19 U.S. safety officials have
upgraded an investigation into an estimated 250,000
Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedans for a possible leak from the fuel
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration upgraded
its probe of model-year 2003 to 2008 E-Class cars to an
engineering analysis, from a preliminary evaluation, based on
533 complaints received by regulators and Daimler AG's
An engineering analysis is a step in a process that could
lead to a recall if regulators determine that a safety issue
needs to be addressed by a manufacturer.
"We are taking this topic seriously and are cooperating with
NHTSA," Mercedes said in a statement. "Neither we nor NHTSA have
received any reports of fire, accidents, or injury."
The initial probe was opened in January 2012 after NHTSA
received 20 consumer complaints from owners of E55 AMG cars
about alleged fuel leaks or the presence of a strong gasoline
odor both inside and outside the vehicle, particularly after
refueling, according to NHTSA documents.
NHTSA said to date the agency and Mercedes have received 370
and 163 complaints related to the issue, respectively. After the
initial probe was opened, NHTSA said complaints were also
received about other E-Class models, such as E320, E350, E500,
E550 and E63 cars and it decided to upgrade the investigation to
further study the issue.