Bentley's iconic hood ornament forces unusual recall

For some it's the cherry atop the pie - but the winged "B" hood ornament that adorns many of Bentley's famously luxurious cars has forced the company to issue an unusual recall.

The British firm filed its recall with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after discovering a problem with the mechanism that ordinarily ensures the sleek adornment swiftly retract in a crash.

"There is a potential for the 'B' hood ornament's retracting mechanism to become corroded. This may lead to the 'B' hood ornament not retracting as intended when a vehicle is involved in a crash," NHTSA said in a recall notice.

"If the hood ornament does not retract, it could increase the risk of injury to a pedestrian in the event of a crash between the vehicle and the pedestrian," the agency added.

In notifying NHTSA of the problem, Bentley stressed that "this condition has not been witnessed by or reported to Bentley Motors Limited, neither is Bentley otherwise aware of any accidents or injuries related to this matter."

Bentley manufactures some of the world's most expensive and sought-after vehicles, with a reputation for exclusivity and luxury, the recall is highly unusual.

The recall affects some of Bentley's 2007-2009 Arnager, Arnaget, Arnage RL, Brooklands and Azure models. NHTSA estimates nearly 600 vehicles are affected, though it did not mention any accidents involving the ornament.

Some of the vehicles included in the notice come with a recommended pricetag of well over 300,000 dollars.

But, good news for customers affected by the recall: Bentley has pledged to fix the problem at dealerships beginning later this month for free.

sah/arb

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