Daimler is recalling more than 6,000 of its new Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchbacks because of problems with the passenger airbag.
The company said about 6,000 cars in Germany alone are affected, plus an unquantified figure outside its domestic market.
The recall is a blow for Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche, given that last year's launch of the new family of compact cars was a major plank in his strategy of reclaiming ground lost to rivals BMW and Audi.
"The market launch in Germany was in September of last year. In other European markets it was launched much later, so the overall number won't be that much higher," a Daimler spokesman said of the recall.
In certain cases it is possible that the airbag would not deploy properly in the case of an accident, he said, confirming a report in German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.
The Daimler spokesman said the problem arose at a supplier, adding that no Mercedes customers have been hurt as a result.
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