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Ferrari recalls California, Italia models for faulty crankshafts

May 21, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • A Ferrari 458 Italia travels through a road course at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
A Ferrari 458 Italia travels through a road course at the Walt Disney World… (Getty Images )

Here's a big oops for Ferrari, the maker of mega-bucks sports cars. It made a mistake building the crankshafts for the engines in its California and 458 Italia models and now will have to repair or replace them, depending on what the owner picks.

Ferrari said it will recall the 2011 and 2012 model-year cars because the crankshaft error can cause the engines in the vehicles, which sell for $200,000 or more, to freeze suddenly and possibly cause a crash.

The Italian automaker learned of the problem in a uniquely embarrassing way. The first of these models to have its engine freeze was the car the company was lending to critics to review.

Ferrari said that after launching an investigation in March, it learned that the crankshafts of the F136 engines in the vehicles were machined incorrectly. It turns out that the crankshaft-grinding machine was incorrectly set up. The company has since reprogrammed the machine.  

The eight-cylinder engine produces up to 562 horsepower and gets 14 mpg. The car rockets from stopped to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds

This will be one expensive repair for the automaker, but it affects only 74 cars because the sales volume for exotic vehicles is small.

Owners of the vehicles have the option of having a new crankshaft and bearings installed by their dealer, having the engine removed from the car and the repair work done by Ferrari North America, or having a new, correctly machined Ferrari engine installed in the car at the dealership.

Getting owners to take their cars in for repair following a recall is more of a problem than most consumers realize, according to auto information company Edmunds.com.

In a report earlier this month, Edmunds said its analysis of two General Motors Co. recalls showed a completion rate of just 52.5% as of December 2011. GM says its recalls generally reach a completion rate of about 70%. No other automaker would provide Edmunds with a completion rate for recalls.

But it is unlikely Ferrari owners will overlook this defect, which could leave $200,000 strewn across the road. Ferrari owners with questions about the recall can contact the company at 201-816-2600.

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