TOKYO – Japan's Hitachi Ltd. (HIT) said Friday that it plans to recall about 16,000 laptop battery packs made by Sony Corp. (SNE), a company spokesman said, the latest in a massive global recall of the batteries that can overheat and catch fire.
Hitachi has not received any reports of problems with the batteries, the company said in a statement. It said it is undertaking the recall "for its customers' peace of mind."
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Almost every major laptop maker has told customers to return Sony-made lithium-ion batteries, which can overheat and catch fire.
Sony expects costs of at least $170 million related to the Dell and Apple recalls.
[Last week, IBM (IBM) and Lenovo recalled more than half a million Sony batteries installed on ThinkPad laptops worldwide, and a day later Toshiba recalled 830,000 Sony-made batteries. On Wednesday of this week, Fujitsu recalled 287,000 of the batteries.]
According to Sony, the batteries can short-circuit because shards of metal were left in their cells during production in Japan. Dell's recall came after six instances of overheating or fire involving Dell systems with Sony-made batteries.
Sony's battery woes have been one of many headaches for a company struggling to regain its reputation for high quality.
Sony has been trying to overhaul its electronics operations under Welsh-born Howard Stringer, the first foreigner to head the company, and has found success in its flat-panel television and digital camera operations.
But a delay in the launch of its much-anticipated PlayStation 3 video game console and weakness against rival Apple's iPod in portable music players has cast doubts on whether the maker of the legendary Walkman can regain its former glory.