Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NML) of Japan announced today that it is making a worldwide vehicle recall affecting a total of 475,400 units of the Nissan Primera and Nissan X-Trail.

Countries affected by this recall include most markets where the X-Trail is sold, including the major car markets like Japan and Europe. X-Trail units sold in Africa, the Middle East and Asia/Oceania, including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand are also affected. Only Canada, which introduced the X-Trail last year, is not included in the recall list.

The recall is related to the fuel inlet to the gasoline tank called the fuel filler tube, which may rust at the tube-mounting bracket. A pinhole may result from the rust formation, which can cause a fuel leak during full refueling.

However, the formation of rust will take anywhere from 10 to 15 years to develop enough perforation for a pinhole to form, depending on humidity and other factors. "In short, there is no real cause for panic over the short term, since the rust develops between 10 to 15 years. However, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NML) has decided to take a very pro-active stand towards the issue by making a recall this early. We at Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. (NMPI) also decided that in the interest of protecting the welfare of our customers, that we are conducting this campaign," explained Leman Lee, NMPI president and CEO.

In the Philippines, some 4,000 X-Trail units are affected by the recall, specifically units made from July 2003 up to December 2004. More than 6,400 X-Trail units were sold in the Philippines country since its introduction in July 2003. X-Trails produced after January 2005 are not affected by the recall.

Mr Lee emphasized that it is the overall safety of all Nissan vehicles that is paramount in this campaign, initiated in order to ensure that the vehicles meet thehigh safety strandards in the interest of protecting the Nissan buyer while simultaneously promoting an information and service campaign to address the said issue. "This is the reason why we are engaging in this voluntary recall campaign to inspect and service affected vehicles. The cost of this campaign will run into the millions of pesos, but that is something that Nissan is willing to shoulder completely for the peace of mind of our X-Trail buyers," added Mr. Lee.

Starting May 2006, Nissan dealers will start replacing free-of-charge the fuel filler tube with one that has a higher protection against corrosion. This new "counter-measure" part has already been developed.

So far, NML has not received reports of accidents caused by the rusting of the fuel filler tube. However, NML, with its comprehensive safety campaign, wants to assure the welfare of its customers and has made it a policy to act very early on recall issues. "It is now standard practice for all car manufacturers worldwide to make a recall of certain vehicle models when a potential problems has been identified. In fact, there have been more than a dozen recalls made every year worldwide since 2002 by various car makers for certain vehicle models," said Mr. Lee.

The replacement of the affected part will start on mid-April or May and NMPI will use the period from the formal announcement of this recall as a time to do rigid inspection on all X-Trail units. NMPI will directly contact X-Trail owners to inform them about the recall campaign and schedule their vehicle for an inspection FIRST and replacement of the fuel filler tube. There will be absolutely NO conditions to the replacement as long as the vehicle is included in the "affected" list and the customer WILL NOT BE CHARGED anything for the replacement. "It only takes about 90 minutes to replace the part but we do not want to inconvenience our customers, so we will start by doing an inspection first. The campaign will go on until we completely change the parts on all the 4,070 units under the recall. Inspection and servicing of the units as well as replacement of the parts will be done free-of-charge at all authorized Nissan dealers nationwide," explained Rolando Gutierrez, NMPI's after-sales and service manager.

NMPI also declared that the recall DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN REPLACEMENT OF THE WHOLE UNIT. In a subsequent press statement by NMPI, they stated that a recall is a process used by durable goods manufacturers (such as automakers) wherein products that have already been sold are requested to be brought back to the dealer/retailer/service outlet for either: 1) Replacement of a component; 2) An addition to a part of a component; 3) An inspection of a component's part; or 4) All of the three aforementioned actions. This process, according to the NMPI statement, was done in order to adhere to the principles of customer satisfaction, to promote the protection of consumer's rights and to come out in the open (offering this service campaign) as a sincere gesture to the public instead of easily making a "silent" campaign.

NMPI also said that no other vehicle in its line-up is affected by the recall, particularly all the variants of the Sentra, Cefiro and Serena. "It is worth noting that our X-TRAIL customers are very much happy with the quality and performance of their units, and it is for this reason that we owe them proper action on this matter," said Mr. Lee.

X-Trail owners are encouraged to call Nissan Motor Philippines, Inc. (at 049-541-2201) or send their comments or queries to [email protected] or call their dealers for more information on this recall activity.