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Mercedes to recall SUVs in the United States: watchdog

The German automaker Daimler is recalling 136,751 sports utility vehicles in the United States owing to possible problems with their cruise control systems, the US highway safety watchdog said Tuesday.

Daimler's Mercedes Benz brand is recalling M-Class SUVs built between 2000 and 2004, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

Another 50,000 of the same class of vehicles would be recalled in Germany as well, Mercedes spokesman Wolfgang Zanker told AFP.

The NHTSA said on its website that "Mercedes-Benz has determined that under certain circumstances use of the brake pedal may not automatically disengage cruise control as expected by the driver."

Other ways of switching it off remained in effect, but the risk of a crash increased when the cruise control mechanism cannot be disengaged, the agency noted.

"It is possible that brake pressure must be increased," Zanker acknowledged.

The NHTSA said: "Specifically, where the driver pumbs the brakes rather than applying consistent pedal force, the level of force required may be unusually high."

Mercedes will repair the fault free of charge, the US agency added.