Photo/IllutrationThe Subaru Impreza manufactured from 2012 to 2013 (Provided by Subaru Corp.)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Embattled major automaker Subaru Corp. has announced a recall of about 410,000 vehicles in Japan and overseas after it was found that a faulty valve spring could break and result in engine failure.

On Nov. 1, the company reported to the Japanese transport ministry that it will recall 101,153 vehicles, which were manufactured in a period from January 2012 to September 2013.

Subaru on Oct. 23 slashed its operating profit forecast for the first six months of the business year that started in April by 49 billion yen ($435 million) to 61 billion yen. Most of the 49 billion yen are expected to be used for the recall.

It will take two days to replace the faulty engine part with a new one per vehicle.

Of the 410,000 vehicles, 101,153 units of four models, including the popular compact car Impreza, will be recalled in Japan and the remaining 310,000 units overseas, including the United States.

In Japan, models subject to the recall are the Impreza, sport-utility vehicle Forester, sports car BRZ and Toyota Motor Corp.’s 86 sports car, which was jointly developed with Subaru and was equipped with the same engine.

According to the transport ministry, of the 310,000 vehicles subject to the recall overseas, 160,000 units were sold in North America and 100,000 units in other regions, including Europe. The remaining 50,000 were Toyota’s 86 released for overseas markets.

Since autumn 2017, Subaru has been hit by a number of scandals, including having unqualified workers conduct vehicle inspections and falsifying data for exhaust levels, fuel-efficiency and brake tests.

In the unqualified workers inspections scandal, the company recalled about 420,000 cars and earmarked 25 billion yen as related costs.

In the latest recall, excessive pressure on a valve spring in the engine could result in a breakage and bring the vehicle to a halt, according to the transport ministry and Subaru.

There are no reports that the defective engine part led to accidents. However, the company has received 224 reports, including 94 in Japan, on troubles resulting from the engine part since April 2012 when the first report came from a dealership.

Vehicles manufactured in the 21-month period from January 2012 to September 2013 are subject to the recall.

In June 2013, Subaru began to gradually install a stronger valve spring, apparently correcting the problem.

As for why the company waited for as many as five years to announce the recall, the automaker said, “After we received reports that the engine part had broken, we used an improved one based on a certain presumption. But it took time to clarify why the engine part had broken.”

Subaru plans to announce details of the costs related to the recall on Nov. 5 when it releases its financial statement for the first six months of the current business year.

However, there is a possibility that the work to replace the engine part will be prolonged and the costs will become greater than anticipated.