Bentley Recalls 596 Cars Over Unsafe Hood Ornaments

Bentley Recalls 596 Cars Over Rusty Hood Ornaments
Bentley Recalls 596 Cars Over Rusty Hood Ornaments

Recalling cars to fix faulty hood ornaments might sound like a joke, but luxury-car maker Bentley Motors isn't dismissing reports that its famous "flying B" metal emblem on some models may fail to collapse in a crash.

The iconic British nameplate is recalling 596 Arnage, Azure and Brooklands models from the 2007 through 2009 model years in the U.S. to replace corroded emblems, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

"We do take it seriously," company spokesman Valentine O'Connor said of the defect in an interview with Bloomberg News. "This is a precautionary measure." Dealers will replace the hood ornaments on the $200,000-plus cars for free starting Sept. 27, the NHTSA said in its online posting of the recall.

Hood ornaments such as Bentley's distinctive "B" are designed to retract during a collision, thereby minimizing possible injury to pedestrians. "If the hood ornament does not retract, it could increase the risk of injury to a pedestrian in the event of a crash between the vehicle and the pedestrian," the NHTSA notice said.

No accidents or injuries have been reported, O'Connor said. The hood ornament supplier has taken steps to prevent corrosion, adding grease to the mechanism and preventing water from collecting inside it, Bloomberg reported.

Bentley is one of three luxury makes owned by German automaker Volkswagen (VLKAY), which is seeking to unseat recall-plagued Toyota Motor (TM) as the world's largest automaker. Volkswagen also owns Bugatti Automobiles and Lamborghini.