July 27, 2012 / 3:55 PM / 5 years ago

Mazda to recall 217,500 Tribute SUVs for throttle issue

DETROIT, July 27 (Reuters) - Mazda Motor Corp is recalling 217,500 Tribute SUVs in the United States due to a problem with the throttle that could make it difficult to slow down a vehicle after a driver fully or nearly presses down the accelerator.

The Japanese automaker’s recall affects vehicles made for the 2001 to 2006 and 2008 model years that were equipped with the 3-liter, V6 engine and speed control.

Mazda did not make a 2007 Tribute, according to Mazda’s filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The company’s move comes a day after a similar recall by Ford Motor Co of 2001 to 2004 model Escape SUVs. Ford and Mazda jointly developed the affected Escape and Tribute models. Ford recalled 423,634 Escape SUVs in the United States and 484,600 worldwide for the problem.

U.S. safety regulators are investigating whether the throttle issue was a factor in the death of a teenager in Arizona earlier this year. There have been 68 reported complaints of stuck throttles, including nine injuries and the Arizona fatality.

The problem in these vehicles stems from “inadequate clearance” between the engine cover and the speed control cable connector, Mazda said in its NHTSA filings.

Mazda said its 2005, 2006 and 2008 used an engine cover for its 3-liter, six-cylinder engine that was similar in design to the 2001 to 2004 model Tributes. As a result, the company also recalled those models.

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