July 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM ET
Ford Motor Co. is advising owners of an estimated 11,500 new Escapes to park their vehicles until they can be repaired by dealers due to potential fuel line leaks that could cause fires.
Ford’s all-new 2013 Escape crossover utility vehicle may have scored well with consumers but not as well with federal safety regulators after the Detroit maker announced the second recall involving the new model in less than a week. Earlier versions of the Escape are also under investigation due to concerns about potentially sticky accelerator assemblies.
The latest Escape recall specifically targets new 2013 models equipped with the maker’s 1.6-liter engine. Other versions are not involved in the recall, in which Ford takes the unusual step of asking owners to not drive the vehicle until repairs can be made. Dealers will provide a loaner vehicle at no charge and handle transporting the vehicles to service bays for repairs.
Unlike most recalls where makers may take up to a month to notify owners and begin repairs, Ford is urging immediate action in this case, according to Ray Nevi, the assistant director of the maker’s safety operations. “Our intensive investigation and testing has identified the area of concern, and we are moving as quickly as possible to repair vehicles for our customers. In the meantime, it is extremely important that affected customers not ignore this recall and immediately contact their dealer.”
The maker says it knows of no injuries resulting from the defect but does not indicate if, or how many, fires may have occurred as a result of the potential fuel line leak.
Ford wants owners to act quickly and not wait for the normal notification process to get under way. It is asking owners of the 11,500 2013 Escapes covered by the recall to contact its customer relations center at 1-866-436-7332 – or go online to www.fordowner.com for information on how to proceed.
The latest announcement is a further setback for the popular Escape line. The all-new crossover was the target of a recall announced Monday covering 10,000 2013 models that could experience so-called “carpet entrapment,” where loose floor mats might jam the pedals and cause the vehicle to run out of control.
(For more on that recall, Click Here.)
Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week announced the start of an investigation covering 730,000 Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute SUVs from the 2001 through 2004 model years. The vehicles could experience sticky accelerators – ironically, as the result of repairs made due to an earlier recall. No decision has yet been made on whether to order a recall of those vehicles.
(For more on that investigation, Click Here.)
This week’s headlines could prove a setback as Ford seeks to convince motorists that it has resolved recent quality issues that have left it lagging behind the industry average in such well-tracked studies as the 2012 J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey.
But the industry, in general, has seen a surge in the number of recalls in recent months, according to industry analysts. That may be the result of a crackdown by federal regulators following the Toyota safety scandal of 2009–10.
Honda today announced it would recall 172,000 CR-V crossovers and Acura ILX sedans due to door latch issues. (Click Here for that story.)