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Thursday, 3 October 1974
Page: 1687


Senator Primmer (VICTORIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

(1)   Were Bedford trucks placed on the market with a reverse gear which slipped out on steep grades.

(2)   Would such a fault affect the safety of the trucks.

(3)   How many such trucks were sold and what steps did General Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd take to overcome the fault, and at whose cost.


Senator Cavanagh - The Minister for Transport has provided the following answer:

My Department has received no complaints about the matter raised in the question. It was discussed with General Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd and they provided the following information:

(   1 ) The condition described was first reported to GMH by the Public Works Department of Tasmania. Only one other report was received, and that was from the Ringwood Shire in Victoria.

In the Tasmanian case, the vehicles in which the problem was exhibited were a water carrier and a gravel spreader.

The problem only occurred when backing down steep approaches, either to rivers or highway construction slopes.

In the case of the Ringwood Shire vehicle, the transmission had had considerable use and there was evidence of wear in the components.

The only transmission involved was an Eaton 475 SMA. However, when it was brought to our attention, an investigation was instituted through GMH Service Department, Quality Control, and Engineering.

A service fix was designed and we made this information available to all dealers, all Fleet Owners, including Government Departments, in a Service Letter dated 19 April 1973, page 109.

(2)   We had no reported incidents where safety was involved. In the circumstances where the problem arose, at extremely low speed of the vehicles, the braking system would adequately safeguard the driver and his vehicle.

(3)   The transmission was introduced into Bedford production more than ten years ago. Sales records do not extend that far back.

Although no other cases were reported, the modified pan concerned was made available in our supplier stocks.

In the vehicles in which the condition appeared, the pan was replaced at no cost to the owner. '

In July 1972, the Australian Transport Advisory Council approved, on a trial basis, a uniform code of practice for safety related defect campaigns which had been prepared by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The operations of the scheme were to be reviewed, and in fact, several weeks ago 1 asked myDepartment to convene a meeting to review the operation of the Code. These deliberations will include consideration of the extent of the Code's coverage, but I should add that the matters raised in this question would not come within the scope of the Code as it is framed at present.

I repeat the invitation I issued last March, for people with complaints about the quality of their vehicles to submit them directly to me. Special 'hot line' contacts have been established between myDepartment and motor vehicle manufacturers to ensure that legitimate complaints receive prompt attention.

I might also add thatI will ask the new National Authority on Road Safety and Standards, as soon as it is established, to investigate the incidence of defects in motor vehicles, not necessarily related to safety, which are causing concern to consumers generally.

General Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd: HQ Holdens (Question No. 128)


Senator Primmer asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

(1)   Did General Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd produce HQ Model Holdens in 1973 which were fitted with defective clutch plates, if so, how many cars were produced with this fault.

(2)   How many such cars were recalled or what procedures were adopted to replace any faulty clutches and at whose cost.


Senator Cavanagh - The Minister for Transport has provided the following answer:

My Department has received no complaints about the matter raised in the question. It was discussed with General Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd and they provided the following information:

(   1 ) At this time, we received sufficient reports of clutch shudder to cause us considerable concern. This condition could be produced by several kinds of faults such as engine mountings, clutch linkages and brushes, as well as faulty or oil fouled clutch plates.

(2)   The vehicles were not recalled but where a fault was evident, we replaced the clutch plates under warranty and, beyond the warranty period, in high mileage vehicles, accepted the cost as a policy adjustment.

In July 1972, the Australian Transport Advisory Council approved, on a trial basis, a uniform code of practice for safety related defect campaigns which had been prepared by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

The operations of the scheme were to be reviewed, and in fact, several weeks ago I asked myDepartment to convene a meeting to review the operation of the code. These deliberations will include consideration of the extent of the Code's coverage, but I should add that the matters raised in this question would not come within the scope of the Code us it is framed at present.

I repeat the invitation I issued last March, for people with complaints about the quality of their vehicles to submit them directly to me. Special 'hot line' contacts have been established between my Department and motor vehicle manufacturers to ensure that legitimate complaints receive prompt attention. 1 might also add that I will ask the New National Authority on Road Safety and Standards, as soon as it is established, to investigate the incidence of defects in motor vehicles, not necessarily related to safety, which are causing concern to consumers generally.







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