Ford Recalls Escape for Seventh Time

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Ford Motor Co. (F) announced two recalls of its popular sports utility vehicle (:SUV) Escape of the model year 2013. With these two recalls, the automaker’s total number of recalls of Escape increases to seven since the vehicle was redesigned and marketed in the spring of 2012.

The first recall announced yesterday covers 161,334 Escape SUVs globally. Of these, 139,228 vehicles are in the U.S. market, 18,917 in Canada and the remaining in other markets. Ford is recalling the SUVs to fix oil leaks that may lead to fire.

The 2013 version of Ford’s Escape is equipped with 1.6-liter engines. The compny is recalling the vehicles as the engine cylinder head may crack due to overheating and thereby result in leakage of oil. This may eventually lead to fire.

Ford will alter the engine shielding, cooling and control systems under the recall. Ford said that it is aware of 13 incidents of fire due to this problem, but there is no report of any injury.

The next recall covers 11,821 Escape vehicles, which are included in the above-mentioned recall as well. Of these vehicles, 9,469 vehicles are in the U.S.

Ford announced the second recall due to the improper installation of the engine compartment fuel line during a prior recall. This also may lead to oil leakage. Under this recall, Ford will examine the engine compartment fuel line and replace it if required. The owners will be informed about both the recall by Jan 23, 2014.

In addition, Ford is recalling 7,329 Lincoln MKZ hybrid vehicles of the model years 2013 and 2014 globally. The recall is being made to reprogram the powertrain control module. The existing module is unable to meet the U.S. regulatory requirement that the brake needs to be depressed before the car can be shifted out of parking.

In Jul 2012, Ford had recalled 11,500 Escape SUVs to fix a problem that may have led to engine fire. In the same month, the automaker recalled 8,266 Escapes due to a carpeting issue, which could reduce clearance for the brake pedal.

These recalls were followed by one in Sep 2012, in which Ford recalled 7,600 2013 Escape SUVs to fix problems that could have caused fire. Two months later, 73,300 Escapes were recalled to fix a software glitch in the cooling system, which had the possibility of causing fire.

Moreover, Ford had to pay a penalty of $17.4 million to the U.S. regulators in Jul 2013 for not recalling about 424,000 Escape vehicles of the model years 2001 to 2004. This is the biggest penalty that can be imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (:NHTSA).

Escape is the second best selling vehicle of Ford in the U.S. after the F-Series pickup trucks. Escape sales went up 14% to 250,543 vehicles in the first ten months of 2013. It provides tough competition to Honda Motor Co., Ltd.’s (HMC) CR-V in the SUV segment.

Not only Ford, other automakers are also recalling vehicles for several reasons. Recently, Volkswagen AG (VLKAY) recalled 2.64 million vehicles across the globe to fix some drive system and electronic problems. Volkswagen was followed by Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), as the latter recalled 33,000 cars, pickup trucks and commercial vehicles globally to fix a problem related to the engine.

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