The government is investigating potential brake defects in 9 million General Motors Corp. automobiles made from 1978 to 1984, the Center for Auto Safety said Monday.
The center, a private group, released a defect investigative report issued by the National Highway Transportation Administration, an arm of the Transportation Department, for February. The government issues the reports each month.
In the report, the safety administration said that it had started a preliminary investigation into 1978-1984 rear-wheel-drive A, G and F cars--including the Oldsmobile Cutlass--manufactured by the nation's No. 1 auto maker.
The center, which was founded by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, said that the problem involves rear brake backing plate corrosion that could lead to loss of the rear brakes.
On Jan. 10, GM recalled 63,865 cars in Canada because of the problem, the center said, but none of the 9 million U.S. cars.
Spokesmen for GM and the transportation administration refused to comment on the matter.
A preliminary investigation is the first step that could lead to auto recalls--or dropping the matter. Such investigations usually are started after complaints by motorists.
The center reported also that a separate investigation is under way into 2 million 1982-1985 GM J-cars involving engine surges that could cause uncontrolled acceleration.