Volkswagen has recalled more than 1.1 million vehicles around the world over an issue with their rear suspension systems.

The recall affects about 581,000 cars in China, 442,000 in the US and 126,000 in Canada, as well as a small number in other markets, including Australia and Germany.

Volkswagen says the rear trailing arm of affected vehicles could crack if they are involved in a rear or side collision, which, if undetected, could lead to a crash.

Dealers will inspect the recalled vehicles and either install a metal support to protect the suspension arm or replace it if it is broken.

Volkswagen Australia public relations manager Kurt McGuiness told CarAdvice the recall would affect a small number of current-generation Beetle hatchbacks in our market. He said the local division is still determining exactly how many vehicles are affected in Australia, and will make a further announcement when it has finalised the details.

Volkswagen China is recalling 2011-2014 Sagitar and Beetle models, while Jetta, Beetle and Beetle Convertible models built between 2011 and 2013 are affected in North America.