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Mazda recalls more than 280,000 cars in Japan

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TOKYO (AP) _ Mazda Motor Corp. said Thursday it is recalling more than 280,000 cars in Japan due to defects, the automaker's biggest vehicle recall on record in Japan.

Mazda will recall 287,987 Demio and Verisa compact models, produced between June 2002 and July 2006. The defects affect the clutch systems and coil springs in suspensions, Mazda spokeswoman Aya Takahashi said.

No injuries or damage have been reported, she said.

The automaker will make the repairs for free, but did not provide the cost of the latest recalls.

Some 25,559 Demios _ known as the Mazda2 overseas _ were also exported during that period, she said. These cars are not part of the domestic recall, and Mazda will handle the defects of exported models in line with local regulations, Takahashi said.

Of those exported, some 20,850 were shipped to Australia, 1,166 vehicles to New Zealand, 1,147 to Singapore and 262 units to Hong Kong.

It is Mazda's largest recall in Japan since the Hiroshima-based automaker began taking recall data in 1994, she said. The company's previous record recall was for 162,405 vehicles in March 2004.

One of the problems is related to the coil springs, whose coating can be removed easily because of the inappropriate installation of the parts, Takahashi said. The coil may rust and may break eventually in the worst case.

The other problem is that the material to cap the hydraulic oil used in the clutch system could leak, causing the clutch to not work appropriately.

Recalls have been increasing recently among Japanese automakers. Once a defective products is found in a certain model, its affects other models as same parts are often used for multiple models among automakers.

In March, Honda Motor Co. announced recalls of more than 290,000 vehicles across 13 models to repair a manufacturing defect that could stop the cars' engines.

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Mazda recalls more than 280,000 cars in Japan
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