Subaru XVSubaru has restarted vehicle production at its Gunma assembly plant in Japan after a prolonged shutdown due to a possible defect in an electric power steering unit.

The company, which ceased all production and distribution at the plant on January 16, also suspended new registrations of potentially affected vehicles for the domestic market.

Production resumed at the plant on January 28 after countermeasure parts became available.

Though the cause of the potential defect has been identified, an investigation is ongoing to determine the precise details, said Subaru.

The suspect electric power steering unit was fitted in Forester, Impreza and Subaru XV models at Gunma, about 80km north-west of Tokyo, between late December and January 16. Production of other models there was also suspended, however, as they are built on the same lines.

Subaru has not said how many vehicles were affected during the period but the total will have been kept down by the plant’s scheduled winter shutdown from December 29 to January 6. The suspected defect could have caused a malfunction leading to the loss of the power steering function, said the OEM, advising any customers who experienced such a failure to contact their nearest Subaru dealer and have their vehicle checked.

An initial company investigation confirmed that none of the potentially affected vehicles had reached customers outside Japan, it added.

Subaru said it was currently looking into the impact of the shutdown on its financial performance.