Thursday, July 26, 2012
Ford is recalling 424,000 Escapes in the U.S.
Ford Escapes from the 2001-2004 model years with 3-liter, V6 engines are affected by the recall. Ford Motor Co. is recalling 424,000 Escapes in the United States because a cruise control defect may cause the throttle to stick, leading to unintended acceleration. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it was investigating the safety defect July 17, based on 99 complaints, including 13 crashes and the death of a 17-year-old Arizona girl. The worldwide recall covers SUVs from the 2001 through 2004 model years, Marcey Zwiebel, a Ford spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview. Almost 424,000 U.S. vehicles with three-liter, six-cylinder engines will be covered under the recall, according to documents Ford provided to NHTSA. There's inadequate clearance between the engine cover and a control cable in those models, Ford said. For the 2001-2004 model year recall, there also are about 35,000 vehicles in Canada, 19,000 in Mexico, 4,500 in Europe and 4,300 in other regions, Ford said. In Europe, the model is called the Maverick. It wasn't immediately known if the Escape's assembly line sibling, the Mazda Tribute, also would be recalled. Mazda has been working "hand-in-hand with Ford and NHTSA" on the stuck throttle investigation but as of this afternoon had not issued a recall of the Tribute SUVs from 2001-2004, said a company spokesman. Affected owners will be notified by mail and instructed to take their SUVs to a Ford or Lincoln dealer, the company said. The notices will go out beginning August 6, Ford said. The U.S. safety regulator's investigation remains open, pending the agency's review of the documents provided by Ford in its recall action, Karen Aldana, a NHTSA spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement. Continued monitoring "NHTSA will continue to monitor any future issues involving a stuck throttle or unintended acceleration in these vehicles to ensure there are no additional safety risks that warrant further action," Aldana said. The U.S. investigation followed a July 10 letter from Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Automotive Safety in Washington, to Ford CEO Alan Mulally, asking him to recall all Escapes from model years 2002 to 2004 for what he called a "lethal cruise control cable defect." Escapes from the 2002 model year have been the subject of eight previous NHTSA investigations, according to the agency's database. Some of the vehicles have been recalled for engine stalling, an electrical short in the antilock brake system and leaking brake fluid. Ford also recalled 11,500 2013 Escapes July 19 because fuel lines were at risk of leaking, causing an engine fire. Toyota Motor Corp. recalled millions of U.S. autos in 2009 and 2010 for unintended acceleration, replacing floor mats at risk of jamming accelerators and sticky gas pedals. The Toyota City, Japan-based company paid a record $48.8 million in fines for how some of the recalls were conducted.