Another manufacturer chasing its tail


Subaru is the latest to have to recall some of its models because of a defect – this time in the power steering system (in some ways a welcome change from Takata safety belts).

The defect involves an electric power steering component supplied to the Subaru factory in Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo. Subaru looks to resume assembly at the Japanese plant after two weeks, which provides 60 percent of the company’s global production.

Hitachi Automotive Systems produces the component, which is used in power steering, and would give a warning light on the dash to indicate something was wrong.

The parts are found in the Japanese automaker’s Forester and XV sport utility vehicles as well as its Impreza compacts. Subaru estimates more than 10,000 vehicles produced between late December and Jan. 16 are affected.

The supplier, a unit of Hitachi, said it was unlikely that the parts were damaged during assembly, suggesting a fault in the electronics of the component. Subaru said it is still investigating the exact cause of the defect.

The plant shutdown also impacts other Subaru models because the automaker assembles multiple models on single production lines. Daily output totals roughly 2,600 units, and a shutdown could affect production of more than 20,000 vehicles. The company ships 80 percent of cars made at the Japanese plant overseas, with 60 percent of exports going to the U.S.A.