Ford Motor Co. has announced that it will be recalling around 485,000 Escape models and other small SUVs in its portfolio to repair defective gas pedals. It’s believed that these “sticky gas pedals” can lead to the SUVs accelerating without the driver stepping on the pedal. This most recent recall comes just two weeks after Ford CEO Alan Mulally received a request from a safety advocate group to rectify this issue.
The recall includes 423,000 Escape SUVs made from 2001 to 2004 and equipped with the 3-liter V-6 engine with cruise control. Another 60,000 units are being recalled outside of the United States, too. The issue stems from the lack of clearance between the cruise control cables which may not allow the driver to ease off the throttle.
This is the third recall issued for the Ford Escape in two weeks. 11,500 of the 2013 models equipped with the 1.6-liter engine were brought back because of fuel lines that are believed to leak. On top of that, 10,000 2013 models were also recalled because of carpeting that’s believed to get in between the brake pedal. More recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into 730,000 Escape and Mazda Tribute SUVs last week that are believed to be hampered by unintentional acceleration. In January of this year, a 17-year-old Arizona teenager died after getting into an accident, and it was ruled later that a defective accelerator cable was to blame. Ford has come out and said it only learned of the teen’s death back on June 20 from the NHTSA. The Blue Oval is currently conducting its own investigation but that incident spurred the Dearborn-based automaker to recall the SUVs.
The NHTSA has 99 reports of Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute models with V-6 engines produced from 2001 to 2004 of having sticky gas pedals. Out of those 99 reports filed, 68 stem from Escape owners and the other 31 are from Tribute owners. In total, 13 accidents occurred and nine injuries stemmed from those. Up until 2008, Ford owned 33.4 percent of Mazda but that share is down to 3.5 percent currently.
This isn’t the first time Ford has issued a recall concerning the same issue in the Escape. Back in October of 2005, the automaker issued an updated repair procedure along with illustrations and a warning to preclude the gas pedals from sticking. Almost 320,000 Escape SUVs made for the 2002 to 2004 model years had already been fixed because of the issued warning. Note that new Escape owners were never alerted to any such problem. Mazda didn’t issue any notice whatsoever.
The reason why Ford acted so quickly with this most recent unintended acceleration recall could be attributed to the ringer Toyota went through back in 2009 and 2010. The Japanese automaker was forced to recall more than 10 million vehicles globally because of a sticky gas pedal and floor mats that trapped the accelerator. On top of the massive recall, Toyota was forced to pay almost $50 million in fines because it didn’t recall the vehicles properly.
As always, stay tuned as more details unfold.
Source: The Detroit News