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U.S. investigates Mini Cooper steering issue

by Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into possible power steering failures in Mini Cooper cars.

The investigation comes after 54 drivers complaints and a number of confidential field reports to the agency that drivers suddenly lost power steering assistance.

While drivers were still able to steer their cars, the document said, it became more difficult once power steering once lost. Some drivers reported problems trying to control the vehicle.

The problem may involve a power steering pump failure, according to the document.

The problem, if there is one, may ultimately involve as many as 80,000 model year 2004 and 2005 cars, according to the agency.

BMW North America spokesman Matt Russell said the carmaker is aware of the investigation but has not yet received formal notification from NHTSA. BMW owns Mini.  To top of page

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