Volkswagen on Tuesday voluntarily recalled some of the earliest-made versions of its diesel-powered Passat.
The company said 153 of the Chattanooga-made Passat TDI sedans are potentially affected by a fuel filter element that may not seal correctly. The recall is the first for the newly redesigned Passat.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, the vehicles produced from Jan. 18, 2011, through June 1, 2011, are susceptible to fuel leakage. It said that leaking fuel in the presence of an ignition source could lead to a fire.
Corey Proffitt, a Volkswagen of America spokesman, said there have been no reports of a fire because of the problem.
"The defect was found by the supplier," Proffitt said.
He said the fuel filter comes installed in the engine, which is shipped to the Chattanooga plant from a factory in Poland.
NHTSA said VW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the diesel fuel filter free of charge. It said the recall will start next month.
Proffitt said the Chattanooga plant has produced more than 8,000 Passat TDIs.
"Recalls are part of the process," he said. "Safety is an important part of it. Anytime there's a potential risk, we need to not make light of it. We're fortunate this was in the early part of the build process."