September 13, 2012 / 1:06 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Nissan recalls vehicles over loose steering wheel

* Nissan says recalls 51,000 vehicles

* Nissan says has report of steering wheel detaching (Adds comment, details)

By Laurence Frost and Jussi Rosendahl

PARIS/HELSINKI, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co. recalled 51,000 vehicles for inspection after a steering wheel apparently became detached from a new SUV while driving.

Nissan said on Thursday it had identified a defect potentially affecting 600 vehicles after Finnish cameraman Kari Alentola reported that the steering wheel of his new Qashqai seven-seater had come off in his hands.

"We had a report of the steering wheel detaching from a customer who was driving at low speed," a Nissan spokesman said, adding that there were no reported injuries.

Alentola's employer, Finnish public broadcaster Yle, showed video images of the loose steering wheel on Thursday.

"Kari Alentola was headed to a regular assignment for Yle on Thursday when the steering wheel of the new Nissan Qashqai+2, a car with only 500 kilometers on the clock, came off in his hands," the broadcaster said on its website.

Nissan said it had acted fast after the Aug. 27 incident and discovered a potential defect resulting from an "altered manufacturing process" at an unnamed supplier.

The problem affects certain batches of steering wheels in Qashqai SUVs and NV200 vans assembled this year for sale in most major markets except North America.

The recall covers Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Australasia, the spokesman said. (Editing by James Regan)

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