Volkswagen is recalling almost 2.6m cars, SUVs and pickup trucks worldwide, about half of which are in China, the carmaker's biggest market.

The company's China division told Reuters 640,309 vehicles will be recalled from 25 November to change the oil in a number of seven-speed double-clutch automatic gearboxes, without specifying the models affected. This is part of a global recall of 1.6m cars to refill with mineral oil rather than synthetic oil to avoid gearbox-related electronic flaws.

The recall came a day after China's quality watchdog announced that 207,778 Tiguan compact SUVs, one of VW's three best-selling models globally this year, will be called back in the world's biggest car market.

"We sincerely apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused," VW Group China said. "We will do our utmost to serve our customers efficiently and in the shortest time possible."

Separately, VW's German headquarters said on Thursday that about 800,000 Tiguans assembled between early 2008 and mid-2010 are being recalled for risks of a partial malfunctioning of lights - that's the same recall as announced in China.

Volkswagen is also recalling 239,000 Amarok pickup trucks worldwide for possible leaks in fuel lines. The action affects models built between 2010 and June 2013.

VW's strategy is to expand modular production to boost the proportion of parts that can be shared among models and brands, allowing the company to build cars more rapidly and at lower costs.

Analysts have told Reuters the strategy isn't without risk and could expose VW to the threat of massive recalls if a single part, used in millions of cars, fails.

Though the recall is one of the largest in VW history, analysts said many of the problems seemed fairly minor, and the recall is a far cry from the almost 19m vehicles that Toyota recalled from late 2009 to early 2011 due to claims of acceleration problems.

China's quality watchdog said the recalls will include VW's imported cars, such as Scirocco, Golf Variant [wagon], Golf Cabriolet and the Beetle, as well as those made at its two Chinese joint ventures with FAW and SAIC Motor.

FAW will recall the Bora, Golf, Sagitar and Magotan and Shanghai Volkswagen will recall the Touran, Lavida, Superb, Octavia, Passat and Polo.