DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. is still working on a remedy for a defect that raises the risk of an engine fire in almost 90,000 just-launched Escape and Fusion models, an executive at the second-largest U.S. automaker said on Monday.
This is the fourth recall of the 2013 Escape crossover since July. The Escape and the 2013 Fusion sedan are considered Ford’s two most critical launches this year.
The problem, which affects models equipped with the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, has triggered nine fires in vehicles owned by customers, Ford said in a document filed with U.S. safety regulators on Friday.
“We are working on the fix for the vehicles,” said Ken Czubay, vice president of Ford’s U.S. sales, marketing and service, told reporters and analysts on Monday.
“It’s because of an overheating situation, which can result in certain circumstances in an engine fire, but we have had very few of those,” he said during a call about November auto sales.
The 1.6-litre engine can overheat, leading to a fluid leak. If the fluid contacts the vehicle’s hot exhaust system, this may cause a fire, Ford said in documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Nov. 30.
The latest recall involves 73,320 Escapes and 15,833 Fusions.
The Escape has been recalled twice before for problems with its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. Two other recalls, both issued in early July, involved potentially defective brakes and mispositioned carpeting.
The Escape and Fusion, both completely redesigned for model year 2013, compete in segments that account for one of three auto sales to U.S. consumers, Ford has said. It is relying on the new models to build its U.S. market share this year.
Ford has not yet seen any “derogatory showroom traffic” on the vehicles as a result of the recalls, Czubay said. He said Ford is taking “all measures” to handle the recalls smoothly.
Escape sales dropped 4 per cent in November, while total Ford vehicle sales rose 6.5 per cent.
“Obviously, any recall doesn’t help,” TrueCar.com analyst Jesse Toprak said. “The way a manufacturer handles the recall makes a big difference and Ford has learned a lot of lessons, so have other automakers, to be extremely proactive on all issues.”
Most of the recalled models are in the United States, Ford said. There have been no injuries stemming from the defect and Ford is loaning owners a car for free while it looks for a fix.
In July, Ford told owners to stop driving the 2013 Escape, citing a manufacturing problem that damaged the fuel lines. Ford recalled the model again in September because of an improperly installed engine cup plug.
The Escape models affected by last week’s recall were built at the Louisville Assembly Plant from October 2011 to November 2012. The Fusion sedans were built this year at Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant in Mexico from February through November.
According to the documents, Ford got word that a 2013 Escape caught fire in Florida in early September. Ford found that the engine was being operated without an engine oil dipstick, causing engine oil to spill over and touch the exhaust system.
From late September until late November, Ford received eight reports of vehicle fires, including one of a fire in a Fusion sedan. But Ford could not assess the cause of the fire.
Additionally, Ford also reported two previously undisclosed fire reports in vehicles that were not yet sold to customers.
Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X