Volvo cars, a unit of Ford Motor Co., said on Thursday it is recalling 116,000 S80 cars worldwide, including 49,000 in the United States, over a possible steering problem.

The Swedish automaker said 1999 and 2000 models of the full-sized S80 are being recalled because a front ball joint in the front suspension can loosen prematurely, affecting steering, Volvo spokesman Dan Johnston said. Ford and Japan's Mazda Motors Corp. also recalled small numbers of their new small SUVs, built off the same underpinnings or platform.

Volvo has received 30 reports of problems, but none involving accidents or injuries, he said.

The car was introduced in the 1999 model year, first sold in 1998.
Volvo has notified the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the recall, but owners will not receive letters notifying them of the recall until the automaker has built an adequate supply of replacement ball joints, Johnston said.
However, any owner experiencing any related problems should bring their car to a Volvo dealer, he said.

Ford recalled 800 of its new Escape SUVs for a possible throttle problem, Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said. Only 15-20 of the SUVs were in dealer hands, with the rest in inventory.

The No. 2 automaker said part of the speed control cable could crack or fall off, interfering with the throttle.

"This could potentially allow the throttle to not return to idle," Vaughn said.

He said there were no reports of accidents or injuries.
Mazda recalled 325 of its new Tribute SUVs for the same problem. The vehicle is made at the same Ford plant in Kansas City, Mo., as the Escape.

Mazda, in which Ford owns a controlling stake, said only 21 of the Tribute SUVs were in customer hands and they will be fixed by the end of Friday. There have been no reports of accidents or injuries.