Porsche to replace recalled 911 GT3's engine

Porsche, citing a risk of engine fire, recalled all 785 of the GT3s from the current model year in February. No accidents or injuries were tied to the incidents, it said at the time.

UPDATED: 3/18/14 6:24 pm ET

STUTTGART (Bloomberg) -- Porsche AG will swap out the engine on the supercar variant of the 911 sports car after the German automaker took the rare step of telling customers to stop driving the model because the vehicle could catch fire.

"We're not taking any risks when it comes to the safety of our customers," Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller said today on the sidelines of a company event in Stuttgart. "We're acting fast and decisively to fix this."

The Volkswagen AG brand sent out details to owners on Monday and is offering replacement cars such as the 911 Turbo while their vehicles are repaired, Mueller said.

Porsche said in a statement on Tuesday that the engine damage resulted from a loosened fastener on the connecting rod. The loose connecting rod damaged the crankcase, which in both cases led to leakage of oil, which then ignited, the company said.

Porsche last month recalled all 785 of the 137,300-euro ($190,930) 911 GT3 from the current model year after two vehicles caught fire following engine failures. No accidents or injuries were tied to the incidents, it said at the time.

"To replace the whole engine is quite a drastic measure," said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. "It shows Porsche is very keen to solve this as fast as possible to allay concerns and keep any disgruntled customers."

Recent recalls

Porsche's most recent quality issues come as General Motors plans to repair more than 3 million vehicles for a flaw linked to 12 deaths.

Recalls in recent months at other automakers -- including at VW, Chrysler Group and Toyota Motor Corp. -- highlight the challenges car manufacturers face in adding increasingly sophisticated technology to new models.

Porsche recalled 100,000 Cayenne SUVs in 2012 to fix a defect with parts holding in the front headlights, and offered fixes for various models in 2011 and 2010 to tackle seat-belt flaws.

The recall of the GT3, which has a 475-horsepower engine that accelerates to 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour in 3.5 seconds and has a maximum speed of 315 kilometers per hour, is relatively small because it's for one specific model variant with limited production.

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