The government was asked today to recall 200,000 Audi 5000S cars that several consumer groups and the New York attorney general said can become runaway vehicles due to sudden acceleration when being shifted out of the park.
The petition, citing an "astonishing" accident rate of one out of every 500 Audis sold, said over half the reported runaway accidents have occurred in the New York City area.
The recall petition was filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by the private Center for Auto Safety, New York Atty. Gen. Robert Abrams, the New York Public Interest Research Group and a group of Audi accident victims.
It covers all 1978-86 automatic transmission Audi 5000S vehicles.
The petition said that in 1982 and the following year, Volkswagen of America twice recalled some 1978-83 Audi 500s cars in the United States and Canada in response to reports of sudden acceleration accompanied by loss of brakes. It said, however, neither recalls fixed the problem.
"Given the pressing safety problem posed by runaway Audis, NHTSA should immediately open a formal investigation and announce its action to the public by issuing a consumer alert," the petition said.