( dpa ) - A defective lever in the back seat prompted Volkswagen to recall 477,000 vehicles of the Fox model in Brazil, the company said in a statement published by Brazilian newspapers Wednesday.
VW will also have to pay a fine of close to 1.8 million dollars for the defect, which has caused injuries to fingers as owners tried to adjust the back seat and enlarge the car boot.
The German motor industry giant reached an agreement with the authorities and with consumer protection organizations. Volkswagen pledged to solve the problems within 30 days, which could be extended by 30 more.
Brazilians have complained that the faulty mechanism has caused injuries to many owners of Fox vehicles, leading the Brazilian Justice Ministry to ask the company based in Wolfsburg, Germany to solve the problem.
As late as February, however, the VW leadership in Brazil insisted that the mechanism is safe as long as the instructions are followed appropriately.
The recall announcement reassured many drivers, the news website G1 reported.
"The fact that VW was condemned gave me great satisfaction," said the chemist Gustavo Funada.
Funada, 51, says he lost part of his right ring finger in December 2004, due to this fault, when he tried to make more room for shopping bags in the car boot. The man said the recall will prevent more injuries.
Like other people allegedly affected by the fault, Funada filed suit against VW Brasil. According to media reports, the company is negotiating with some of them outside the court.
Since it was first introduced in 2003, Volkswagen has sold over 820,000 vehicles inthe Fox family, including 477,000 in Brazil.
The South American country is VW's largest market, and the company - which has been active in Brazil for 55 years - has a 25-per-cent market share in Brazil.
In order to keep damage to its image under check, VW said in the statement that it continues to be committed to the country and will keep reflecting this in high quality products.