Mazda Motor Corp. expects to recall more than half a million vehicles worldwide due to power-steering flaws, a company spokesman said, its largest recall ever.
The automaker has filed applications with local authorities to recall 215,000 vehicles in the United States and more than 10,000 in China, the spokesman said.
In Europe, Mazda on Thursday announced it will offer a so-called Special Service Program (SSP) for certain Mazda3 and Mazda5 models equipped with electro hydraulic power assist system. The service will be offered free of charge starting in October, Mazda said in a release.
In Europe, a total of 40,260 Mazda3s and 30,242 Mazda5s could be affected, according to the release.
The recall, estimated at a total of 514,000 vehicles, targets Mazda3s and the Mazda5s manufactured in Japan from 2007 to 2008.
The vehicles could experience a sudden loss of power steering, increasing the risk of a crash.
The spokesman said there had been three accidents reported in the United States in connection with the defect but no deaths or injuries. There have been no cases of the power steering problem occurring in Europe, Mazda said in the release.
The company said rust could break lose from a high-pressure pipe, straining the power steering pump and causing the system to shut down.
Last year, Mazda remedied the problem for models in Japan after issuing an advisory.
Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled more than 10 million vehicles since late last year due largely to problems with unintended acceleration that raised a storm of criticism in the United States.
Toyota, the world's largest automaker, was fined a record $16.4 million by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the maximum then allowed, for moving too slowly to recall vehicles with defective accelerator pedals.
Reuters contributed to this report