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Subaru recalls 48,500 vehicles over steering issues

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Subaru of America said on Thursday it is recalling 48,500 new U.S. vehicles because of a serious potential steering issue and warned owners not to drive them until they are inspected and repaired if needed.

The unit of Fuji Heavy Industries Inc <7270.T> said the recall covers the 2016-2017 Legacy and Outback. Dealers will inspect and if necessary replace the steering column.

The recall covers vehicles of the two models built from Feb. 29 to May 6.

Subaru said the steering column in the recalls may have been improperly built and turning the steering wheel may have no effect on the direction of the wheels.

There were no reports of injuries or crashes related to the defect in a notice filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted Thursday.

Subaru launched a stop sale on the vehicles on May 9 after a customer reported an issue with an Outback on May 3.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bernard Orr and Alan Crosby)