Nissan is recalling more than 140,000 of its popular Altima sedans to replace air filters that could catch fire, company officials said.
The voluntary recall affects 2007 Altimas with four-cylinder, 2.5-liter engines produced between September 2006 and May 2007 at Nissan’s Smyrna plant and between October 2006 and May 2007 at its Canton, Miss., plant.
The Altima is Nissan’s best-selling car, with more than 114,000 sold from January through May, and the fourth best-selling mid-sized car in the United States.
North America Inc. spokeswoman Frederique Le Greves said flammable objects, such as cigarettes, could enter the filter and catch fire.
“There is little chance this can happen, but we had a couple of cases of this happening, so we don’t want to take any risk,” Le Greves said.
Four engine compartment fires in February and March prompted Nissan to launch an investigation, according to Nissan’s report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Le Greves said the company determined the cause of the defect June 11 and began sending letters to consumers July 3.
The company will install replacement filters made of less flammable material at no charge, and also an air deflector to keep debris from entering the air filter.
“It’s a very quick change, like 12 minutes,” Le Greves said. “We have all the filters already at the dealers. It’s in-and-out for the customer.”
The company does not disclose costs associated with recalls, Le Greves said.
Nissan North America, headquartered in Nashville, is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Nissan Motor Co.
Nissan shares fell 16 cents to $21.41 Wednesday afternoon.
On the Net: Nissan Motor Co.: http://www.nissanusa.com
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