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Thursday, 3 October 1974
Page: 1688

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

(   1 ) Were a number of Holden HQ and Torana LJ cars produced in which the head rest would not remain in an extended position.

(2)   Were a number of HQ Holden Sedans, coupe and station wagons placed on the market with rear springs of insufficient strength to safely allow the towing of trailers or caravans: If so, how many.

(3)   Were such vehicles recalled.

(4)   Did General Motors-Holden's Pty Ltd recently carry out an advertising campaign urging the public to buy AC Spark Plugs to reduce pollution: If so, does this advice in any way conflict with the fact that on some Torana LJ engines it has been found necessary to remove a restrictor on the air cleaners.

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 ) No. We believe the question alludes to our Service Letter of February 1972, page 24, and, perhaps, our Service Letter of August 1973, page 249, to all dealers, Fleet Owners, and Government Departments.

What we have advised dealers and also purchasers of our vehicles is not to extend the head restraints beyond the uppermost setting, and this can be seen in the relevant Owner Manuals.

Provided the head restraint is placed in our suggested position, where the appropriate lock-in operates, there should be no problem for the operator.

(2)   The initial production of the HQ model was fitted with springs, the deflection rate of which would provide increased riding comfort. The springs were of sufficient strength to safely allow the towing of caravans and trailers, provided owners followed our written instructions contained in the Owner Manual supplied with the vehicle.

It has been our experience that people purchase caravans and trailers without due regard to the weight placed on the rear suspension of the towing unit.

We did receive complaints from customers on the subject, although we had an option to meet the needs of those customers who wished to use caravans or trailers regularly, such as tradesmen, or people constantly travelling over rough terrain.

In the interest of our product's name, and knowing that many people in Australia enjoy caravaning it was decided to fit what had been an optional rear coil spring, as standard equipment.

As with the previous items, our field organisation and Fleet Owners were advised.

Our recommendation for caravan loading had been a maximum laden weight of 2000 lb, provided independent brakes had been fitted to the caravan and the load on the coupling was in accordance with our suggestions.

As the trend in caravan construction has been to bigger and more luxurious units, in order to keep abreast with

I 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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