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Brake problem forces BMW, Rolls-Royce recall

German luxury automaker BMW said Friday it was recalling 350,800 BMW and Rolls-Royce vehicles worldwide owing to brake problems a spokesman stressed were "without danger."

Of the total, 5,800 vehicles were limousines built by Rolls-Royce in Britain, a BMW spokesman told AFP.

The United States was most affected by the recall, with a total of 198,000 vehicles, but the problem was "without danger" for passengers, the spokesman said.

It concerned braking systems that could become "slightly more difficult to use" following an extended period of operation, he added.

BMW is the world leading premium automobile manufacturer and the US market is its most important after Germany.

In Britain, a BMW spokesman told AFP: "It's a voluntary recall, we took it upon ourselves. It affects large-engined 5-, 6- and 7-series (BMWs) and Rolls-Royce" cars.

Large engined models are those equipped with V8 and V12 engines.

"The potential fault is a small leak that could develop in the power-assisted braking system ... if there is a leak the car would lose some breaking power but should still be able to stop," the UK spokesman said.

"Not all the vehicles are necessarily affected by the problem" but owners should nonetheless bring them in for checks, the German spokesman said.

No accidents have been reported and a simple parts replacement would clear up the problem, he said.

Last year, BMW sold 1,068,770 of its own brand automobiles and 1,002 Rolls-Royce worldwide.

Shares in BMW showed a loss of 2.02 percent to 50.40 euros in midday trading on the Frankfurt stock exchange, while the DAX index of leading stocks was 0.73 percent higher overall.

Other luxury carmakers have also had to issue recalls in recent months, with General Motors putting out a notice in late September for 20,000 Cadillac CTS models that presented an increased risk of injury to shorter people who did not wear seatbelts.

In May, GM recalled more than 160,000 Hummers owing to a flaw that could cause part of the hood to break off while the vehicle is being driven.

The Italian automaker Ferrari said in September that it had recalled all of its model 458 Italia sports car produced before July 2010 after four of them caught fire.

That recall involved 1,248 vehicles worldwide, an official said.

The worst incident involved Japanese auto giant Toyota which this year saw its reputation badly damaged after it had to recall some 10 million worldwide because of defects, mainly involving "sticky" accelerator pedal problems that could cause vehicles to speed out of control.