• Nearly 37,000 Versas are being recalled.
  • Shifters may come out of park and cause an accident.
  • The first recall notices will be mailed out February 20.

Nissan is recalling nearly 37,000 units of its 2012 Versa sedan because of a safety issue with the model's transmission. The automaker recently announced the recall in conjunction with the government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, noting it only applies to Versa models equipped with the Xtronic continuously variable automatic transmission.

According to Nissan and the NHTSA, Versa sedans equipped with the CVT automatic may be accidentally shifted out of the "Park" position without depressing the brake pedal. The NHTSA says the problem stems from interference between the shift lever and a rod in the transmission and notes that it could lead to increased risk of a collision.

Although Nissan says it hasn't received any reports of injuries due to the issue, the automaker notes it only found out about the problem during a dealer vehicle inspection in November. Nissan says the transmission's supplier is unique to the Versa sedan and stresses that none of its other models are affected by the recall.

Nissan says it will begin mailing notices to customers affected by the recall beginning February 20. According to the automaker, dealers will inspect recalled models and rectify the problem by replacing the shifter knob or shifter assembly as needed. Customers with questions are asked to call the automaker at 1-800-647-7261.

As the Versa sedan was recently redesigned for the 2012 model year, it's likely that the recall affects nearly every new model sold in the US since its debut. Last month, Nissan sold nearly 10,000 units of the Versa, representing a decrease of almost 3 percent compared to the same period in 2011. But Versa hatchbacks still retain the subcompact's circa-2007 design, accounting for the model's slow sales. According to Nissan, that will change when the Versa hatchback receives a makeover similar to its sedan counterpart sometime this year.

What it means to you: If you recently bought a new Versa sedan, be prepared for a recall notice.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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