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Ferrari recalls latest supercar amid fire threat

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
  • Ferrari said it investigated five "thermal incidents" across world involving 458 Italia model
  • Defects discovered in bonding adhesive used to attach heat-shield to the wheel arch
  • High temperatures caused adhesive to melt causing the car to ignite
  • It is checking over 1,000 models worldwide and replacing bonding with metal rivets

(CNN) -- Ferrari has been forced to recall its latest supercar after reports that several had burst into flames.

The Italian carmaker revealed it had investigated five "thermal incidents" across the world involving its 458 Italia model, which was unveiled last year at the Frankfurt motor-show. No fatalities were reported.

They discovered defects in the bonding adhesive used to attach the heat-shield to the wheel arch in each of the five cars. The heat-shield is designed to protect the wheel arch from the exhaust pipe, so if this "glue" melts then the wheel arch housing would be exposed to high temperatures.

But a Ferrari spokesperson told CNN it would have taken a combination of extreme conditions to actually cause the $260,000 car to ignite.

"Heavy usage of the car, such as driving very fast down a twisty road or up a mountain, will increase the temperature inside the engine bay," she said.

"If that is combined with extremely high ambient temperatures, which has been the case throughout Europe especially this summer, then this will cause the deformation of the wheel arch, bringing it closer to the exhaust and causing the car to smoke or ignite."

Ferrari said these defects would have occurred in a relatively small portion of the production, though it plans to examine all 1,148 cars produced up to July 30 this year. The five thermal incidents reported so far occurred in the U.S., Britain, France, Switzerland and China.

"We're contacting clients across the world to get them to bring their cars back to the dealers so we can check the wheel arch," the spokesperson said.

"If necessary we will replace the heat-shield with a new heat-shield that is riveted to the wheel arch rather than attached with the adhesive."

The luxury carmaker stressed that the issue is limited to the 458 model only.

Ferrari's latest sports car rolled off the production line at its Maranello factory near Bologna, Italy earlier this year. With a design inspired by former Ferrari F1 legend Michael Schumacher, the 458 boasts a formidable 4.5l V8 direct injection engine that gives it a top speed of almost 320 kph (200 mph).