BRASILIA Jan 12 (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG said on Saturday that it was surprised by a Brazilian judge's order for the carmaker to recall up to 400,000 of its cars over premature wear of their engines.
The carmaker said in a statement it has not been officially notified of the decision by a judge in the state of Rio Grande do Sul who ordered it to recall cars with a 1.0 liter engine in the 2009/2010 model year. Premature wear of the engines could generate excessive noise and additional costs for oil changes, the judge said in a ruling announced Friday.
Volkswagen said that in 2009 it detected the engine issue, which does not represent a risk to the health and safety of consumers.
The German company said that it agreed with authorities of several Brazilian states at the time to resolve the issue by offering free oil checks and changes to the owners of those models. It also extended the guarantee of the motors.
Under the ruling, which Volkswagen may still appeal, the carmaker must publish ads in the largest newspapers of each Brazilian state, screen the Fox, Voyage and Novo Gol vehicles brought to its dealerships and replace any pieces necessary.
The case highlights concerns about the quality of entry-level cars in Brazil's auto market, where protections for local factories have historically kept out low-cost competitors.
Volkswagen is the second-biggest car brand in Brazil, the world's No. 4 auto market, where it sold 773,358 cars and light trucks last year and captured 21 percent of the market. (Reporting By Alonso Soto; Editing by Doina Chiacu)