Mazda to recall 400,000 vehicles globally

More than 400,000 Mazda3 and MazdaSpeed3 vehicles worldwide could be subject to recall by Mazda Motor Corp. after drivers reported defective windshield wiper motors.

In documents posted Monday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Web site, Mazda said it’s recalling 103,300 vehicles in the United States manufactured between Jan. 7, 2008, and Nov. 28, 2008.

The ground terminal of the wiper motor may have been accidentally bent as the cars were assembled, Mazda said in the documents. The flaw may cause the wipers to stop working, which could prove dangerous in inclement weather.

The Japanese automaker first received complaints about the malfunction in late 2009, according to documents submitted to NHTSA. Mazda determined that no recall was necessary at that time but continued to monitor the situation, the documents show.

In March 2010, Mazda reopened its investigation after more incidents were reported. This month the automaker decided a recall was necessary “to remedy the concern because of an increase in the frequency of the occurrences."

Through the end of May, Mazda received 132 reports of the issue, spokesman Jeremy Barnes said. There have been 20 reports of windshield wiper failure in North America, 30 reports in China, 29 in Japan, six in Europe and 47 in Mazda’s other markets, Barnes said.

The windshield wiper defect hasn’t caused any injuries or accidents, Barnes said. He declined to comment on the cost of the recall.

Dealers will be notified of the recall during the week of July 4, Mazda said in the documents. A letter will be sent to all impacted owners on July 15. The automaker also said it would reimburse consumers who had already fixed their wipers.

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