Volvo Reaches Deal With California Regulators to Extend Warranty on Stalling Cars

SAN FRANCISCO November 15, 2005; David Kravets writing for the AP reported that Ford Motor Co.'s Volvo subsidiary has quietly reached a deal with California regulators to extend the warranty of defective throttles in about 356,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada that are prone to stalling, the company said Tuesday.

The car maker will extend the warranty of the ETM throttle, which can become corroded and force the car to stall or slowdown, according to internal memos obtained by The Associated Press and later confirmed by the company.

The warranty will be expanded to 200,000 miles, or 10 years. The warranty now offers protection for up to seven years, or 70,000 miles.

Volvo has reached a deal with the California Air Resources Board, which began eyeing the devices more than a year ago after a lawsuit by plaintiffs demanding that Volvo replace the devices, Volvo spokesman Dan Johnston said.

"We've finally agreed with CARB," Johnston told the AP on Tuesday.

The deal would also reimburse consumers who have paid as much as $1,000 to have the part replaced. However, the deal does not trigger a recall. It only provides motorists with a replacement, or coverage for the part's cleaning, if it fails or begins to fail. A dashboard light indicates the part is becoming defective, Johnston said.

California regulators were not immediately prepared to comment.

Dina Micheletti, one of the California lawyers suing Volvo, said the extended warranty isn't good enough. She wants a judge to order Volvo to replace the throttles before the devices begin to fail.

"We're asking the court to issue an injunction for Volvo to provide funds to replace the ETMs," Micheletti said.

Johnston said that as many as 94 percent of ETMs will fail before their designed life span of 100,000 miles.

California pollution regulators became involved because the part, while also regulating engine velocity, helps control emissions.

The affected vehicles include the 1999-2002 C70 coup and convertible models; 1999-2000 S70, V70 and V70SX models; 2000-2001 V70, V70XC and S60 models with turbocharged engines; 1999-2001 S80 models; and 2000-2002 V70 and S60 models with non- turbocharged engines, Johnston said.

Ford acquired Volvo from Sweden's Volvo AB in 1999.

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