LOS ANGELES -- Mazda Motor Corp. has stopped production of the 2006 Mazda5 minivan because of exhaust system-related fires.
Mazda's North American dealers have been ordered to stop selling the vehicle until the cause of the fires has been found and a solution is in place.
Also, the company has recalled 2,700 of the vehicles in North America.
Three fires caused by heat buildup in the exhaust system have been reported, but the source of the fires has not been determined. The six-seater went on sale in June in the United States.
Customers were told to return their vehicles immediately. They will be given replacement transportation at no cost.
Mazda has told customers that they will be without their vehicles for at least 30 days.
A Mazda spokesman said the production halt affects all Mazda5 vehicles globally. But Japan and Europe have not issued recalls or stop-sale orders, as those countries' versions have different engine specifications and engine management control units.
Mazda says about 2,000 of the vehicles are in customers' hands, the rest in dealer inventories. Mazda has sold 2,518 units in the United States since its June launch.
The Mazda5's base sticker price is $17,995, which includes shipping.
A spokesman said the recall has no possibility of spreading to the Mazda3 sedan and hatchback - upon which the Mazda5 is based - because the two vehicles have different exhaust system routing and mufflers.
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