Ford Halts C-Max, Focus Sale on Suspected Steering Issue

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Recently, Ford Motor Co. (F) ordered its dealers to discontinue the sale and test drive of C-Max and Focus models manufactured this month, as the automaker suspects a problem with the steering gear assembly.

Ford is executing a recall of C-Max and Focus models, manufactured in the Michigan Assembly Plant in the Aug 8–Aug 15 period, on apprehensions of dire consequences owing to lack of adequate ball bearings in the steering gear assembly. This may cause deformation of the remaining ball bearings leading to a malfunctioning steering or loss of steering control and increased risks of a crash.

Ford also confirmed that none of the affected vehicles were sold to customers, although 32 were on dealer lots. Meanwhile, about 616 vehicles with the potential steering gear defect are in the process of getting delivered to the dealers.

Ford revealed that a total of 502 recalled vehicles are in transit to U.S. dealers, 108 are on the way to Canada, and six to U.S. federalized territories. The automaker also assured that the dealers will replace the steering gear before the vehicles are sold.

Recently, Ford recalled around 160,000 Focus ST and Escapes with 2-liter engines of model years 2013 and 2014 in North America. This marks the 11th recall of the 2013 Escape. Of the recalled vehicles, 133,000 cars are from the U.S. while the rest are from Canada and Mexico.

According to reports, manufacturing defect in the wiring harnesses of some of these cars might lead to transmission of wrong signals to the powertrain control module. This can result in several problems, such as turning on of the engine malfunction indicator light, loss of power in the engine or stalling of the vehicle, which can in turn cause an accident. However, Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries brought about by the issue.

Currently, Ford carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked automobile stocks that are worth considering include Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA), Visteon Corporation (VC) and Fox Factory Holding Corp. (FOXF). While Tesla and Visteon sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Fox Factory has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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