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The Globe and Mail

Recall for the rich: Bentley replacing ornament

CHICHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: A Bentley flying spur glistens in the sun during the Goodwood Revival 2010 at Goodwood on September 17, 2010 in Chichester, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Goodwood)

Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Goodwood

Luxury carmaker Bentley is recalling 820 cars worldwide over fears that its famous "Winged B" hood ornament could injure people in an accident because it might not properly retract.

Bentley Motors' European head office in Berlin said Thursday the recall affects 620 cars in the United States and Canada and 200 in Europe who added the raised hood ornament as an option on Arnage, Brooklands and Azure models made between October 2006 and March 2009.

The company says no injuries have been reported but a Bentley dealer noticed the spring mechanism under the ornament has a tendency to corrode and might not always function properly.

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The fear is that if the hood ornament does not retract, it could increase the risk of injury to a pedestrian in the event of a crash, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website.

"The recall is rather theoretical," said company spokesman Richard Durbin in a telephone interview from Crewe, England, where Bentley cars are produced. "If it were struck by something, we want it to retract as quickly as possible and in some instances it's not doing it."

He added the hood ornament itself is unaffected by corrosion because it is stainless steel.

Bentley, owned by Germany's Volkswagen AG, will replace the mechanism free and says the work takes about an hour to complete.

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