Mercedes rules out speed in test car accident

24th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 February 2005, STUTTGART - German carmaker Mercedes-Benz said it was ruling out excessive speed or any technical deficiencies in a test car in Sweden which spun out of control and killed a 45-year-old woman. Commenting on the incident which has stirred anger in Sweden, Mercedes spokesman Johannes Reifenrath said the company's information was based on accounts by the test driver and by a driver in another test car. "We positively assume that there was no excessive speed involved. The vehicle was in techn

25 February 2005

STUTTGART - German carmaker Mercedes-Benz said it was ruling out excessive speed or any technical deficiencies in a test car in Sweden which spun out of control and killed a 45-year-old woman.

Commenting on the incident which has stirred anger in Sweden, Mercedes spokesman Johannes Reifenrath said the company's information was based on accounts by the test driver and by a driver in another test car.

"We positively assume that there was no excessive speed involved. The vehicle was in technically prime condition," Reifenrath said.

His comments came to reports in the Swedish media about a woman who was killed in the Lappland region when she was struck by a Mercedes test car which had slid out of control on an icy winter road. The accident took place Tuesday.

Swedish prosecutors are now investigating the matter on grounds of gross negligence with fatal consequences. The victim was a mother of two children.

Media cited local residents, police and automotive experts in criticising the driving methods of the Mercedes test drivers.

The reports said residents were frightened by columns of test cars driving at high speeds along the back roads. A local police official said a further problem was test drivers with higher than the permitted alcohol limit of 0.2 grams per litre of blood.

A Swedish test driver, Robert Collin, told the Aftonbladet newspaper that he doubted Mercedes' claims that the car was not driving more than 55 to 60 kilometres per hour.

"If the driver indeed did start to slide at that speed, then they have a serious problem with this new luxury car," Collin said.

For Mercedes-Benz, it is yet further bad publicity related to one of their test drivers.

Last year, a court in Karlsruhe sentenced a DaimlerChrysler test engineer to a year's suspended sentence after being found guilty of aggressive driving behaviour which caused a young woman to lose control of her car and crash on the German superhighway. The woman and her child were killed. 

DPA

Subject: German news 

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