Ferrari Solves Mystery of 458 Italia Fires; Issues Recall for 1248 Cars

**Update: The official NHTSA recall report is out and the recall apparently involves 303 U.S.-spec cars. See the full report below.**

That didn't take long. Weeks after Ferrari announced it would investigate reports of its new 458 Italia going up in smoke, the automaker has reportedly found a fix, and is recalling nearly 1248 cars to rectify the issue. While the recall is not official or filed with the NHTSA, Ferrari is calling owners of 458 Italias to warn them of the issue and schedule their cars for a complimentary service to rectify the issue.

According to Ferrari officials, the crux of the matter lies within the car's heat shield, attached near the rear fender. The adhesive used to attach the heat shields is capable of melting, and even igniting at extreme temperatures.

For those keeping score, reports suggest such a fire has occurred at least five different times. Ferrari reportedly received several complaints from owners from California, France, Switzerland, and China, which spurred the automaker to quickly look into the matter.

"We are taking all the reports very seriously and are looking into them, but are treating them all as separate incidents," a corporate spokesman said late last month.

The solution? It's quite simple, actually. Ferrari technicians will replace the wheel arches and attach them with conventional metal rivets. Customers with burnt 458s will reportedly receive a replacement car, complete with the revised wheel arch design. The design has been changed in-line at Ferrari's production facility, so the flammable adhesive will only affect the very first run of 458 sports cars.

An unfortunate situation, certainly, but owners can take solace in the fact that Ferrari's engineers apparently move as quickly as their products.

The full NHTSA report is available below:

Vehicle Make / Model / Model Year(s): FERRARI / 458 / 2010 Manufacturer: FERRARI NORTH AMERICA INC Mfr's Report Date: AUG 31, 2010 NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V389000

Component: ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING

Potential Number of Units Affected: 303

Summary: FERRARI IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2010 458 ITALIA VEHICLES. THE HEAT CREATED BY THE ENGINE COULD CAUSE POSSIBLE DEFORMATION OF THE REAR RIGHT HAND AND LEFT HAND WHEELHOUSE AND HEAT SHIELD ASSEMBLIES. THE ASSEMBLY COULD COME EXCESSIVELY CLOSE TO THE EXHAUST SYSTEM CAUSING THE BONDING ADHESIVE USED IN THE ASSEMBLY TO OVERHEAT AND PRODUCE SMOKE. Consequence: UNDER PARTICULARLY HIGH AMBIENT OPERATING TEMPERATURE THIS COULD CAUSE THE ADHESIVE TO IGNITE, RESULTING IN A VEHICLE FIRE AND/OR RENDERING THE VEHICLE INOPERABLE AND POSSIBLY RESULTING IN A CRASH.

Remedy: DEALERS WILL REMOVE THE EXISTING HEAT SHIELDS AND BONDING ADHESIVE FROM THE RIGHT HAND AND LEFT HAND REAR WHEELHOUSES, AND INSTALL NEW PROTECTIVE HEAT SHIELDS ON THE RIGHT HAND AND LEFT HAND REAR WHEELHOUSES. THIS SERVICE WILL BE PERFORMED FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING SEPTEMBER 2010. OWNERS MAY CONTACT FERRARI AT 201-816-2600.

Source: Ferrari, Reuters

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