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Leaf recall could force replacement of entire car

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(Nissan North America Inc. photo) Nissan is recalling 276 Leaf EVs in the U.S. and Canada for missing spot welds.

By Jay Ramey, Crain News Service

DETROIT (May 22, 2014) — Nissan North America Inc. is recalling 211 Leaf electric cars sold in the U.S. and  65 sold in Canada because of missing spot welds in the motor compartment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the front structural member assemblies in these cars could be missing welds in several crucial places—to the left and right of the electric motor. As a result, the affected Leafs might not perform well in a crash. The vehicles in question were manufactured between Feb. 28, 2014, and March 12, 2014.

NHTSA said that Nissan will start notifying owners of the affected cars soon, and it will direct them to have their vehicles inspected at Nissan dealerships. If a given Leaf is found to lack the six different spot welds on each side of the motor near the sway bar ends, the whole car will be replaced free of charge to the owners.

The need for a replacement of the entire vehicle in this situation might seem drastic, but it reflects the difficulty of replicating factory assembly methods at a dealership level. Nissan has not mentioned what will become of the cars with missing spot welds.

This recall is scheduled to start in mid-June, when Nissan will notify owners of the potentially affected cars. Owners of Nissan Leafs can contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261 about this issue or contact NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153).

Information also is available on NHTSA’s recall page.

This report appeared on the website of Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.

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