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Published: Saturday, 4/16/2011

Nissan OKs repair of 5,000 Leafs for start problems

Nissan is repairing 5,000 Leaf electric cars which have a software glitch which can cause the car to fail to start. Nissan is repairing 5,000 Leaf electric cars which have a software glitch which can cause the car to fail to start.

DETROIT -- Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. said yesterday it would repair more than 5,000 of its Nissan Leaf cars for a software glitch that has caused a number of the new electric vehicles to fail to start.

"This is not a safety issue as the vehicle will not stop running while being driven, but may not restart once it is turned off," Nissan said in a statement.

The repair campaign covers about 5,300 Leaf vehicles in Japan, North America, and Europe, Nissan officials said. Of the total, about 500 of the cars have been sold to U.S. customers.

Nissan will begin notifying Leaf drivers of the repair campaign next week via a message sent to the vehicle's on-board communications system.

The repair will correct programming in the vehicle control module of the vehicles, Nissan said.

Customers will be instructed to contact dealers for the free repair. In some cases, dealers will arrange to perform the software fix at a workplace or a customer's home, Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman said.

The zero-emission Leaf represents Nissan's bid under Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn to take the lead in the emerging market for electric vehicles along with its French partner Renault SA.

Nissan launched the five-seater Leaf in Japan and the United States in December.

The automaker said earlier this month that a number of customers in both the United States and Japan had reported their Leafs would not start, a potentially costly setback for the high-stakes vehicle in its first months on the market.

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