Ford India has recalled thousands of Ford Figo hatches like this one over potential power-steering and suspension problems.

Ford in India is recalling at least 111 000 vehicles to check for potentially faulty parts that could cause breakdowns or fires.

The company said on Monday it wanted to inspect certain batches of its top-selling Figo hatchback and Classic sedan models, built between January 2008 and February 2011, for possible problems.

Ford called the recall “a voluntary and pre-emptive” action and said no injuries relating to the possible problems had been reported.

The recall is among the biggest by a carmaker operating in India, and about 10 000 Figos in South Africa are also affected.

Ford said it would replace the power steering hose on some cars because of fears a possible oil leak could cause fire “in extreme cases”.

It also said it wanted to check other vehicles for a potential suspension problem, in that a crack could appear in the rear torsion beam - apparently this causes a very distinctive noise - and if the car is driven continuously in that condition, it could break, which would render the cars “inoperable”.

A Ford spokesman said 17 655 Ford Figos and Ford Classics would have their power steering hoses replaced and about 111 000 cars would be inspected for potential cracks in the suspension, and any defective parts would be replaced free of charge.

A number of the cars will be checked for both problems.

Ford India said it had begun contacting owners through letters and its dealerships in late July, while Ford SA is expecting supplies of replacement parts by the end of August and will begin contacting the owners of affected cars directly from then.

The announcement came after India's automobile manufacturers announced in July they were voluntarily setting up a “recall code” and would declare any defect or engineering flaw in vehicles.

India, unlike the United States and European nations, has no mandatory recall legislation to force manufacturers to rectify vehicle manufacturing flaws.

The Ford India spokesman could not immediately say how much the recall would cost the company.

The US car giant has been expanding its dealerships rapidly to service the Indian market which it expects to be the third-biggest worldwide by the end of the decade.

The group had tripled its sales in India over the past three years to about 96 000 in 2011, up from 29 000 in 2009, largely due to the success of its Figo hatch. - AFP