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Ferrari recalls 458 coupe after fires

Fire engine red: Ferrari is recalling eight 458 Italias in Australia after reports of them catching fire was traced to an adhesive on the engine heat shield.

Ferrari issues global recall of 458 Italia super-coupe after a spate of fires

2 Sep 2010

UPDATED: 3/09/2010 FERRARI has issued a global recall of every 458 Italia super-coupe produced before July this year, including eight in Australia, after reports that a handful of them had caught fire.

After refusing to comment when details emerged yesterday, Ferrari importer and distributor European Automotive Imports (EAI) has now confirmed that it has contacted all eight owners of the $526,950 sportscar and that parts should arrive in Australia this weekend to fix the problem, which has been traced to an adhesive securing the engine heat shield to the rear wheel-arch assembly.

Ferrari representatives overseas have revealed that in certain circumstances the adhesive can overheat, produce smoke and, in a worst-case scenario, ignite.

The company said that melting of the adhesive could lead the heat shield and the wheel-arch assembly to deform and move closer to the exhaust, causing the heat shield, and potentially the mid/rear-mounted 4.5-litre V8 engine, to catch fire.

The Fiat-owned Italian supercar manufacturer was alerted to the problem several weeks ago, when five owners, including two in the US and one each in France, Switzerland and China, reported fires in their vehicles.

The company said all of those owners will have their cars replaced, while the remaining vehicles built before July 2010 will be recalled to fix the problem.

34 center imageLeft: Fiat 500

In Australia, EAI said all eight cars involved should be fixed before the end of next week.

“All customers were contacted ... yesterday and apprised of the situation,” said EAI spokesman Edward Rowe. “We would plan to have those cars rectified and back in the hands of their owners by the end of next week. The job itself takes barely an hour to do.” Mr Rowe said that the cars would be fitted with a revised heat shield and wheel-arch lining, which is “attached completely with metal fasteners – the use of adhesive is eliminated”.

“It is important to stress that what we have here is not a design fault. It’s actually a fault of how the piece has been fitted on the production line,” said Mr Rowe, although he acknowledged that the combustible adhesive had been identified as the source problem and removed.

“Essentially what they’ve done is made sure that the component cannot be misinstalled and they’re doing that by using the metal fasteners.” Despite the recall, between 50 and 60 examples of the 458 are still expected to land in Australia this year, from an order bank of more than 120.

Mr Rowe said no orders had been cancelled as a result of reports overseas – which have shown graphic images of the 458 up in flames – and the subsequent recall. He also said there would be no effect on supply.

“No orders have been cancelled whatsoever,” he said. “There will be no effect on supply ... and cars will come through as normal with the changed component.” The fastest road car Ferrari has ever produced, the lightweight (1380kg) two-seater 458 Italia can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds.

Meanwhile, the importer and distributor of Fiat cars in Australia, Ateco Automotive, which is part of the same Neville Crichton-run group as EAI, has issued a recall for the Fiat 500 compact hatch after it was found that the side airbags could inflate inconsistently.

A spokesman has confirmed that 288 Fiat 500s – virtually all models sold in Australia – were being targeted, following non-compliance of the airbag control unit in cases of side impact.

He said there had been no cases of the side airbags malfunctioning in Australia.

Consumers are advised to contact their Fiat dealer or call the Fiat customer assist line on 1800 786 885.

Another recall issued this week involves 1150 automatic gearbox versions of the Mazda BT-50. It has been found that the automatic transmission shift cable bracket could crack or break, resulting in high shift efforts or no shift at all for selected gears.

Affected models cover the VIN range MM0 UNY0E3 00641775 – 00694613 (pre-facelift model) and MM0 UNY0E4 00804848 – 00812666 (facelift model).

Subaru has also recalled 2288 MY10 Liberty Outback vehicles fitted with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) after it was found that an oil leak could occur from a faulty oil cooler hose.

Affected vehicles are in the following chassis range: Liberty sedan: 002005 – 003880 Liberty wagon: 002086 – 006056 and Outback: 002075 – 006068.

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