Consumers in China reportedly panicked over reports that the transmissions in certain models of the Chevrolet Cruze emitted excessive levels of radiation. China Car Times and Auto Sina report that consumers were concerned the automatic transmission in Cruze 1.6 models produced dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation.
Shanghai General Motors division subsequently asked China's Physical and Chemical Research Center of Science and Environmental Analysis to test the cars, and the results found the cars pose no unusual risk. The tests reportedly found that the Cruze's automatic transmission emitted just 0.4µT (less than one-millionth of one Tesla, a measure of magnetic energy) while Chinese and international standards say that up to 100µT of electromagnetic radiation is safe for humans.
For comparison purposes, a cassette tape registers about 24µT and the Earth's magnetic field at the equator measures approximately 31µT.
Shanghai GM reiterated to the Chinese press that it builds cars in accordance with all international safety laws, and that GM conducts an array of testing to ensure its cars don't produce adverse or unhealthy levels of radiation.
It's unclear how the concerns over radiation in the Chevrolet Cruze began, but such rumors likely panicked plenty of consumers given how popular the Cruze is in China: the car sold 22,711 units there in January 2012, and 221,196 examples during all of 2011.
The Cruze sedan is sold in China with three different engines, a 1.6-liter inline-four with 115 to 119 hp; a 1.8-liter inline-four with 145 hp; and a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-four with 181 hp. The base engine is offered with either five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions, while the 1.8 and turbo engines are mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic.