Is Ford Escape Recall a Cover-Up?
Remember the allegations of spontaneous acceleration that Toyota vehicles had to deal with a few years ago? They ended up recalling 3.8 million vehicles. It was a public relations disaster for the company.
Is Ford facing a similar problem? Worse, has the company been trying to hide a dangerous problem it has known about for seven years?
The problem came to widespread attention due to the tragic death of an American teenager. Early this year, Saige Bloom, a 17-year old from Arizona, died after her 2002 Ford Escape accelerated out of control. She called her mom, who was driving just behind her, to say she could not stop the SUV. Bloom’s SUV clipped another car, loaded with children, before her Escape rolled several times. Ford’s investigation into the teenager’s death ultimately led to the recall last month of 485,000 vehicles.
Ford claims the problem was due to inadequate clearance between the engine cover and the cruise control cable, which would result in a stuck throttle when the accelerator pedal is fully or almost fully depressed.
About 421,000 of the defective vehicles were sold in the U.S. the rest were sold in Canada and other parts of the world.
Shortly after the U.S. recall, Transport Canada issued a similar recall for all 3L V6 models 2001-2004. The recall notice states that dealers will replace the engine cover fastener which will raise the cover and provide adequate clearance for the speed control cable.
How Long Has Ford Known?
Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety (CAS), Clarence Ditlow, claims Ford has known of this issue since 2005. On the CAS website he states the Ford’s use of a cheap fastener to raise the engine cover rather than replacing the defective cruise control cable is an inadequate fix for a deadly defect. The CAS calls for the maximum fine to be levelled against Ford for failing to recall these vehicles in 2005 when they discovered the faulty cruise control cables.
CAS lawyer Michael Brooks wrote to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) arguing:
“Ford’s defect description and remedy have one purpose, and one purpose only, to avoid a civil penalty being imposed by NHTSA for failing to do a timely recall in 2005 when Ford discovered the cruise control cable guide would break and the cable connector would jam against the engine cover resulting in a stuck throttle.”
Have Canadians Been Effected?
Aside from the inconvenience of the recall, which affects every Canadian Ford Escape owner, there is no word yet whether any Canadian’s have been injured or killed as a result of the defect. But if the allegations by the CAS are true, Ford should be held accountable.
What do you think? Are you a Ford Escape owner? Should Transport Canada be conducting independent investigations into the matter?
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