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Auto Industries / Small Car Fire Hazards / Chrysler Recalls and Sales #52676

ABC Evening News for Thursday, Feb 02, 1978
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(Studio) Beginning of government tests with regard to fire hazards in event of crashes of subcompact cars noted; tests involve Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega. Pinto's history of flaming wrecks cited.
REPORTER: Barbara Walters

(No location given) Exs. of Pinto crashes resulting in fire given; cases with regard to wrecks in Ozark, Alabama, involving Chester Kaminski and Linda McAfee, and in Virginia, involving Michael Norton family. Photos shown. [KAMINSKI - cites med. treatment he's received and effects of burns on life.] Ford Motors payment to Kaminski and McAfee in lawsuit and court award to 6-yr.-old Norton boy who was sole survivor of Virginia crash noted. Details given re: allegations that Pinto's gas tank poses greater fire risk in collision than other cars; film shown. [Automotive test engineer Harley HOLT - describes events in Pinto rear-end crash.] Additional safety equipment for gas tanks on only 1977 and 1978 model Pintos noted. 1970 Ford Motors internal memo with regard to fuel tank hazard, proving company knew of it then, shown, quoted. Ford Motors' refusal to comment and claim that Pinto is as safe as other small cars cited. Federal highway traffic agency tests for fire danger in small cars and possibilities for recall if unique fire dangers found stated.
REPORTER: Jules Bergman

(Studio) Involvement of Chrysler in 2 largest recalls in history, mostly for Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare, noted, along with lagging sales of these models.
REPORTER: Harry Reasoner

(Westport, Connecticut) Mrs. Vikki Huff's troubles with her Aspen station wagon and resultant efforts to get with other Westport, Connecticut, area Aspen and Volare owners to discover if they had same problems detailed. [HUFF - lists problems with own car.] [Werner HOUSTON - cites trouble he's had with car.] [Francis FERNANDO - talks of troubles he's had.] [Barbara SWANSON - states car troubles; says it's not safe situation.] Chrysler officials' reaction to complaints given. [Chrysler chairperson John RICCAREO - says company doesn't plan these things and when they happen, company fixes them.] [HUFF - says company not fixing trouble spots.] "Wall Street Journal's" featuring of Huff's troubles mentioned.
REPORTER: Dan Cordtz

Bergman, Jules;
Cordtz, Dan;
Reasoner, Harry;
Walters, Barbara

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