General Motors Corp. is disputing the results of a federal crash test that could lead to a recall of about 279,000 of the company's 1999 sport-utility vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted the test this year using proposed injury guidelines as part of an effort to develop less powerful air bags, GM said. Test results showed that the crash dummy's neck extension at impact "slightly exceeded" the proposed guidelines and indicated a driver or passenger might get a sore neck, the company said.
"There is no incremental risk of injury. We don't see this as a safety issue," said Robert Lange, engineering director for product safety at the world's largest auto maker.
The company is seeking an exemption from the proposed injury guidelines, calling the test results "inconsequential" to safety. If the exemption is not granted, the company could have to recall the vehicles to install newly designed air bags. Models affected would be the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Suburban.
The federal agency did not respond to calls seeking comment. The company declined to comment about the possibility of a recall.
USA Today reported the dispute on Tuesday.