Mazda North American Operations is recalling 1.3 million vehicles in the United States because ignition switches could overheat, increasing the risk of a fire. Worldwide, 4.9 million vehicles are being recalled.
Vehicle models include: 1989-1998 MPV, 1990-1995 323, 1990-1998 Protege, 1992-1993 MX-3, 1993-1995 929, 1993-1997 MX-6, and 1993-1998 626.
In the affected vehicles, grease applied to the contact points inside the ignition switch may become conductive and overheat.
Mazda said there have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to this issue. However, 13 fires have occurred, according an article in The New York Times.
Mazda knew about the problem seven years ago, according to information filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, it didn't take action until this year when Japanese regulators began an investigation.
Mazda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the ignition switch at no cost to owners, the company said.
The recall is expected to begin Dec. 15. Owners may contact Mazda Customer Experience Center at 800-222-5500, option No. 6. Mazda's number for this recall is 8715J.
For more information on recalls, see www.recalls.gov.