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Volvo says car at centre of manslaughter case is "safe"

Volvo is seeking to reassure its UK customers on the safety of a car involved in a fatal accident in France which is now at the centre of a manslaughter case.

In June 1999 a 850 TDI estate was involved in an accident in Wasselone, near Strasbourg, which left two school children dead and another seriously injured. The female driver has been accused in a French court of driving too fast. However, her legal team is claiming the car's brakes were faulty.

The French importer of the car, Volvo Automobiles France, is now also under investigation for manslaughter on suspicion it may have been responsible for the crash.

Despite remaining unconvinced of the alleged brake defects Volvo Car Corporation said in a statement today: “It is of the greatest importance that we gain access to the car as soon as possible, firstly in order to obtain a basis for reconstruction and secondly to show to what extent the allegations made in the investigations to date are correct and what are speculation.”

The company also stressed that it had had no part in the investigation to-date.

Volvo has confirmed that 19,379 of 850 TDIs in question, including 1,372 in the UK, made in late 1995/early 1996 were recalled to fix a brake fault.

A Volvo Car UK spokesman said: “I understand we have had a number of calls from UK customers in the light of this case. Our dealers are telling customers that we don't believe the car is at fault, but that they should check their service records to ensure the changes to the braking system were carried out. The repairs should have been done under the standard service schedule and under warranty.”

The Wasselone car was recalled in January 1998 and repaired by a local Volvo dealer.

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