Volkswagen is recalling about 420,000 cars in the United States to fix a fault that could prevent air bags from deploying.

The world's biggest carmaker said on Friday that the recall affected VW Golf, Passat, Jetta and Tiguan models assembled between 2010 and 2014.

The recall comes as the German group struggles to overcome underperformance in the world's second-largest auto market, where the sale of VW-branded cars plunged 10 percent to 367,000 last year, less than half its ambitious target of 800,000 by 2018.

A spokesman said that debris could, under certain circumstances, interfere with the clock spring that keeps the vehicles' air bags powered but added that no such incident has been reported.

VW is examining whether such issues also affect cars delivered to other markets, the spokesman added. 

Reuters (Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by David Goodman)