This is the third recall related to the Fiat Grande Punto's steering column that had been announced since Fiat Group Automobiles discovered the defect. The recall of 500,000 units is the largest of the three and it affects Fiat's top-selling car in Europe and worldwide the Grande Punto and Grande Punto Abarth built in 2008 and 2009.
Half of the cars were sold in Italy and the other half were from rest of Europe. Fiat, which had voluntarily begun to fix the problem last month, claims that no accidents have been reported due to the problem.
The previous two recalls were significantly lower than the third one. In November 2006, Fiat cited a faulty steering column fastening when it recalled about 21,000 right-hand-drive versions of the Grande Punto sold in the UK.
In March 2008, Fiat recalled nearly 44,000 left-hand-drive Grande Punto models that were manufactured between March 2006 and September 2007 for unspecified problems in the lower part of the steering column.
For the third recall, European consumer watchdog RAPEX gave a more specific description of the problem.
Fiat is reportedly checking the Grande Punto because possible incorrect tightening of the steering shaft upper joint fixing screw could lead to the breakage of the shaft, with consequent loss of steering control which could lead to an accident.