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Nissan recalling more than 600,000 vehicles

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November 11, 2010 04:30 PM EST | AP

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DETROIT — Nissan Motor Co. is recalling more than 600,000 vehicles in North and South America and Africa due to steering or battery cable problems.

The Japanese automaker said Thursday that the steering recall affects 303,000 Frontier pickup trucks and 283,000 Xterra sport utility vehicles in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and other Latin American countries. Nissan said a corrosion problem with the lower steering column joint and shaft can limit steering movement, making the vehicles difficult to steer. In some cases the corrosion can cause the joint to crack.

Nissan also is recalling 18,500 Sentra sedans because of a battery cable terminal connector problem that can make the cars difficult to start or stall at low speeds.

The company says no injuries or accidents have been reported because of either issue.

The Frontiers covered by the recall are from the 2002 through 2004 model years and were made from July 9, 2001, to Oct. 20, 2004, in Smyrna, Tenn., for the North American market, Nissan said in a statement. Frontiers made from Nov. 30, 2001, to June 26, 2008, in Curitiba, Brazil, for South and Central American markets also are in the recall.

The 2002-2004 North American Xterras in the recall were made from July 9, 2001, to Jan. 6, 2005, also at the Smyrna plant. Xterras made from Feb. 17, 2003, to June 13, 2008, in Curitiba, Brazil, for South and Central American markets also are affected.

Nissan also said it will replace the positive battery cable terminal on affected Sentras. The vehicles were built at the Aguascalientes, Mexico, plant from May 22, 2010 to July 8, 2010.

The automaker said it will notify owners in early December when parts are available, and dealers will fix the problem at no cost to the owners.

Nissan said the steering problem was discovered from cases in Brazil and Canada, and there have been no field reports in the U.S.

"The isolated field reports from Brazil and Canada are likely related to some unique environmental conditions not commonly present in other areas, combined with a greater percentage of off-pavement usage," Nissan spokesman Colin Price said in an e-mail. "Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided that field action is appropriate in all the potentially affected markets."

About 240,000 Frontiers, 261,000 Xterras and 14,000 Sentras are affected in the U.S.