FRANKFURT -- DaimlerChrysler is recalling 58,000 of its Smart ForTwo microcars in Germany built between 1998 and 2000 due to a possible defect on its front axle, the company said on Friday.
A Smart spokesman said cars in other countries could also experience the same problem caused by rusting of supporting joints on the axle, but he could not immediately say how many were affected in total.
"It can involve cars produced between October 1998 and December 2000, and naturally they were also sold in other countries," the Smart spokesman said, adding 202,000 ForTwos made at that time were sold around the world.
The most important markets at the time were Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, the Benelux countries, Japan and Austria, he said. Customers there would also be notified.
Of the 100,000 cars in Germany on the road, 58 percent were being recalled. The others had already been checked in garages after customers began complaining of the problem, he said.
Smart, a unit of DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes Car Group, will cost the group up to 1.2 billion euros ($1.51 billion) in restructuring costs in 2005 as the loss-making unit tries to break even in 2007.
Daimler's flagship Mercedes-Benz brand has also struggled with quality problems, prompting the carmaker to recall 1.3 million vehicles earlier this year, the marque's biggest ever.