GM recalls nearly 500,000 Chevrolet Cruzes

The Chevrolet Cruze on display at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. Fluids dripping on the Cruze engine's shield or other hot surfaces could catch fire, prompting GM to recall the vehicles. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / June 22, 2012)

Concerns that Chevrolet Cruzes could catch fire has caused General Motors to recall more than 475,000 of the popular compact sedans, the automaker said Friday.

The recall includes 413,418 vehicles in the U.S., more than 60,000 cars in Canada and several hundred in Israel. Vehicles from the 2011 and 2012 model years made in GM’s Lordstown, Ohio, factory are affected.

Fluids, primarily oil being changed, could spill onto the hot engine shield and other surfaces and potentially ignite, GM said.

So far, no crashes, injuries or fatalities have been reported, though reports of two fires prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open a preliminary investigation into the vehicles in April.

The automaker said it would begin sending letters to owners in mid-July asking them to bring their vehicles in to have the engine shield modified, a free process that will take about 30 minutes.

RELATED:

Safety regulators probe Camry fires; Nissan recalls Versa

Investigation into fires expanded to 1.4 million Toyota vehicles

Toyota recall: Camry, Venza and Tacoma; Chrysler recalls Liberty

YouTube video of horrific Camry crash is sponsored by ... Toyota

Follow Tiffany Hsu on Twitter and Google+