Ford India recalls 111,000 cars over fault fears

US auto giant Ford's India unit said on Monday it was recalling at least 111,000 vehicles to check for potentially faulty parts that could cause breakdowns or fires.

Ford India said it wanted to inspect certain batches of its top-selling Figo hatchback and Classic sedan models that rolled off assembly lines between January 2008 and February 2011 for possible problems.

Ford in a statement called the recall "a voluntary and pre-emptive" action and said no injuries relating to the possible problems had been reported.

The recall is among the biggest by a car firm operating in India.

The company said it would replace the power steering hose on some cars because of fears a possible oil leak could cause fire "in extreme cases".

The firm also said it wanted to check other vehicles for a potential suspension problem that could render the cars "inoperable" and promised to replace any defective parts.

A Ford spokesman said 17,655 units of Ford Figo and Ford Classic would have their power steering hoses replaced and around 111,000 vehicles would be inspected for potential cracks in the suspension.

A number of the cars will be checked for both problems.

Ford India said it had begun contacting owners through letters and its dealerships in late July.

The announcement came after India's automobile manufacturers last month announced they were voluntarily setting up a "recall code" and would declare any defect or engineering flaw in vehicles.

India, unlike the United States and European nations, has no mandatory recall legislation to force manufacturers to fix vehicle manufacturing flaws.

The Ford India spokesman could not immediately say how much the recall would cost the company.

The US car giant has been expanding its dealerships rapidly to service the Indian market which it expects to be the third-biggest worldwide by the end of the decade.

The group had tripled its sales in India over the last three years to about 96,000 units in 2011, up from 29,000 in 2009, largely due to the success of its Figo small car.

Ford is in the midst of a huge investment programme in the Asia-Pacific region as it bets on the future growth of car markets in the faster-growing economies of the east, led by China, India and other regional powers.

In 2010, India's largest carmaker, Japanese-owned Suzuki Maruti, recalled more than 100,000 of its A-Star hatchbacks to fix a fuel tank problem.

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