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STOCKHOLM, Sweden--In connection with the decision of an examining magistrate in Saverne in France to start a preinvestigation involving Volvo Automobiles France following an accident in Wasselone, Strasbourg in June 1999, Volvo Car Corporation wishes to make public the following: <P>What happened is a tragedy for all parties involved. Our sympathies go first to the families, relations, friends and schoolmates of the children who died. We also understand that for the woman who was driving the car and her passenger what happened is very traumatic. <P>Volvo Car Corporation stands behind its importer in France, Volvo Automobiles France, and will give them, as well as the court, all support in order to clarify what actually happened. We strive for the greatest possible openness in this work. <P>Volvo Car Corporation welcomes the chance for a thorough assessment of the case which a further investigation provides. The investigation to date is very wide ranging and Volvo Car Corporation has not been part of it. We have only had access to the investigative material relating to the accident since very recently. From our analysis of the material to date, we have not been convinced that the alleged defects exist or caused the accident. <P>Volvo Car Corporation would like to reconstruct the accident, firstly in order to understand the technical background and secondly in order to be able to make a further assessment of the correctness of the conclusions drawn and allegations made to date. We shall use resources such as computer simulations, crash tests and all our collective knowledge and experience in the area of safety. What is perhaps the world's most modern crash laboratory with associated equipment for crash simulation both on computers and in ``reality'' is available for the investigation. <P>It is of the greatest importance that Volvo Car Corporation gains 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 is speculation. <P>The service campaign referred to in connection with the investigation is of no technical relevance to the accident. Evidence of this has today been presented to the examining magistrate. <P>Some basic facts about the ``Wasselone accident'' <P>The accident occurred in June 1999 in the village of Wasselone outside Strasbourg in France. A lady was driving her Volvo 850 TDI Estate, Automatic of model year 1997. <P>The street had a speed limit of 50 kph. <P>She claimed in the first police report that she was unable to brake the car. The car hit a building on the right-hand side of the street and jumped over a Renault Megan parked along the street, without crashing into it. It landed in front of this car and mounted the pavement, where three children were on their way to school. Two of them where killed and the third suffered severe injuries. The car stopped after having crashed into a Fiat Punto, also parked along the street and this car crashed into an Opel Corsa in front of it. <P>The lady driver and her passenger were not injured. The Volvo 850 ended up lying on its left-hand side, partly on the pavement, partly on the street. <P>A first investigation claimed that the car was being driven too fast. In view of the driver's claim that the brakes failed on her car, a second investigation regarding the accident started in May 2000. This preliminary investigation was intended to establish whether a trial should be held or not. <P>In this second investigation, a service campaign relating to the vacuum system of the car model aroused media interest. In media reports on May 12th 2001, it was said that this campaign involved some 180,000 cars. This is not correct. The service campaign involved 19,379 Volvo 850 TDI (only cars with diesel engines) produced between Week 51 of 1995 and Week 43 of 1996. In the service action, a new type of Y-shaped connector was installed in the vacuum system. The vacuum pump provides both the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system and the power-assisted brakes with vacuum. The ``Wasselone car'' had this new type of Y-connector installed in January 1998. The local Volvo dealer carried out the installation. <P>The examining magistrate has so far heard evidence from the lady driver, the dealer, and on May 31 from Volvo Automobiles France. <BR>
 
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