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NHTSA probes Nissan Versa over speed control

The 2014 Nissan Versa Note is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Reporting by Sandra Maler

U.S. safety regulators are investigating complaints that a carpet cover trim panel is causing unwanted acceleration in Nissan Versa cars and preventing drivers from braking.

According to a document posted online on Saturday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency has opened a preliminary investigation into 360,000 Nissan Versa, Versa Sedan and Versa Note from model years 2012-2014.

The NHTSA said it had received four complaints that the tunnel carpet cover trim panel on those vehicles had trapped the edge of the driver’s shoe, interfering with the driver’s ability to reduce acceleration and to apply the brakes.

“I attempted to remove my foot from the gas pedal, but could not, because my foot was stuck,” said one complaint on the website. “The plastic piece that covers the center console extends around to just next to the gas pedal… The corner of that plastic panel wedged between the sole and leather upper of my work boots, preventing me from taking my foot off the gas pedal.”

A preliminary investigation is the first step in a process that could lead to a recall if regulators determine that a safety issue needs to be addressed by a manufacturer.

“We’ve just been made of aware of it and we will be cooperating fully with that investigation,” Nissan spokesman Steve Yaeger said.