Following 12 fires, Ford Motor has recalled its 2013 fusion sedan, the Escape crossover, and vehicles outfitted with its EcoBoost engine.
Ford has not said why the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, which can be found in two of its top-selling vehicles, was overheating and might catch fire, said USA Today. The carmaker was also unable to explain how it plans to correct the problem, which impacts some 89,153 vehicles. For now, Ford is asking owners to park their vehicles and contact their dealers to arrange for loaner cars.
To date, 12 fires have been reported in the Escape; one has been reported in the Fusion, which just went on sale, according to Ford spokesman, Said Deep. No injuries have reported. This is the fourth Escape recall since spring 2011, noted USA Today.
One of the recalls involved a carpet that could potentially block the gas pedal and the other recalls all involved the same 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, which includes a recent recall over coolant leaking from a freeze plug, said USA Today.
The sheer number of recalls has some questioning Ford’s reputation. “It does beg the question: ‘Does Ford have a serious quality problem?’” George Cook, executive professor of marketing at the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester and a former Ford marketing executive, told USA Today.
Meanwhile, Consumer Reports just dropped Ford to second-to-last place in its annual reliability survey; two years ago, Ford was ranked in the top 10, said USA Today.
According to lsays Jake Fisher, head of Consumer Report’s automotive test division, problem is with the many all-new products Ford has released. Fisher says the carmaker has not worked out all of its wrinkles, said USA Today, with many issues involving 73,320 Escapes and 15,833 Fusions.
Earlier this year, we wrote about an ABC15 Investigation into a safety recall that involved Ford Escapes and a crash that killed 17-year-old Saige Bloom last January.
The ABC15 Investigators discovered that Ford issued a recall on the accelerator cables of its 2002-2004 Escapes in December 2004; Mazda issued a nearly identical recall on its Tributes, the same model, at the same time. Ford then issued a technical service bulletin 10 months later, warning its dealers that they could be making incorrect repairs.
If the repair is completed incorrectly, according to the bulletin, mechanics could damage the speed control cable while replacing the accelerator cable for the recall, said ABC15. When Ford issued its bulletin, records revealed that more than 300,000 affected Escapes had been repaired, but without the corrected dealer instructions.
Saige died as a result of her 2002 Ford Escape accelerating out of control. The teenager’s SUV was just one of the 2002-2004 model Escapes recalled by Ford in December 2004, said ABC15. An inspector working for the Bloom’s attorney discovered that Saige’s Escape had a damaged speed control cable—the issue Ford warned its dealers could happen in its dealer repair update.