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Ferrari recalls 74 sports cars to fix faulty crankshafts

Ferrari says the parts were machined incorrectly in the engines of its 2011 and 2012 California and 458 Italia models, which sell for $200,000 or more.

May 22, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
  • An investigation by Ferrari revealed that the machine that was used to grind the crankshafts of the F136 engines in its 2011 and 2012 California and 458 Italia models was set up incorrectly. Above, a 458 Italia on display in New York.
An investigation by Ferrari revealed that the machine that was used to grind… (Michael Loccisano, Getty…)

Here's a big oops for Ferrari, the maker of megabucks sports cars: It made a mistake making 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 owners prefer.

Ferrari said it would recall the 2011 and 2012 model-year cars because the crankshaft error could 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 the cars to have its engine freeze was the one the company lent 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 as much as 562 horsepower and gets 14 miles per gallon. The car rockets from zero 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 during a recall is more of a problem than most consumers realize, according to auto information company Edmunds.com.

In a report this month, Edmunds said its analysis of two recent 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.

Ferrari owners with questions about the recall can contact the company at (201) 816-2600.

jerry.hirsch@latimes.com

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