Volkswagen AG plans to recall 581,090 cars in China because of defects with the rear shaft amid an ongoing investigation over mounting consumer complaints. The recall scheduled to begin in February involves 563,605 New Sagitar and 17,485 Beetle vehicles, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement on its website.

To stabilize the vehicles, Volkswagen will affix metal plates to the rear shaft axle, according to the notice. China's quality regulator began its investigation in August after receiving complaints about the Sagitar sedan. China is the car company's largest single market, with 37 percent of Volkswagen’s sales.

Volkswagen delivered more than 2.7 million vehicles to China during the first nine months of this year, up 15.2 percent from a year earlier and outpacing industry growth of 7 percent. Last year, Volkswagen recalled 384,181 vehicles in China over a gearbox problem after the German carmaker was named in an annual investigative special on corporate malpractice produced by state-run China Central Television, according to Reuters

Volkswagen surpassed General Motors Thursday for second place in the global auto sales race during the first three quarters of the year. Toyota finished first last year with a record 9.98 million sales. General Motors Co. finished second and VW third.