2014 already has been a standout year for the auto industry; just not in a good way. There have already been a record number of vehicle recalls and there are still almost 6 months to go in the calendar year. In the newest of these recalls, Ford announced 6 recalls affecting 100,610 North American vehicles. Earlier this year GM recalled a record 25.7 million vehicles, while Ford’s recalls now total 3 million.
Latest Ford Recall
The latest Ford recall affects 2013-2014 Ford Taurus, Lincoln MKS, and Police Interceptor sedans; 2013-2014 Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT crossovers; 2012-2014 Edge crossovers and the 2014 Lincoln MKX crossover. The problem is related to a defective axle that can render the vehicle inoperable. Ford reports that a part of axle called the right-hand half-shift is not properly seated. As a result, over time it can move out of place. When this happens the vehicle may not start. In other cases, the parked vehicle may roll unless the parking brake is engaged. If the vehicle is being driven, it may shift into neutral. The company reports that it became aware of the problem through internal tests and warranty claims.
Ford has not yet sent notices to vehicle owners but plans to start doing so during the week of August 25th. Ford has not indicated that there have been any accidents, injuries or deaths as a result of this problem. The notices will let owners know that the problem will be repaired by Ford for free.
Other Ford Recalls
The 5 other Ford recalls are relatively small. They involve 5 different car and truck models and 5 different problems. Like the axle problem, no accidents, injuries or death have been reported due to these problems.
- 2011-2014 F59 commercial stripped chassis. Corrosion in the electrical junction block may cause the trucks to short circuit. If this happens there is a risk of a fire or loss of electrical power. However, no fires have been reported. Vehicles recalled: 5,264.
- 2014 Ford Escape SUVs. The panoramic glass roofs were not glued properly during manufacturing. As a result, the roofs may leak or separate from the vehicles. Vehicles recalled: 2,124.
- 2014 F53 motor home stripped chassis and F59 commercial stripped chassis. The brake calipers were incorrectly manufactured. As a result, a leak may develop that would cause a loss in braking performance. Vehicles recalled: 635.
- 2014 Transit Connect vehicles. Brake reservoir caps in vehicles shipped to Puerto Rico have European labels that do not conform to U.S. labeling requirements. Vehicles recalled: 368.
- 2014 Ford Fiesta subcompacts. Fuel tanks may be missing an adhesive layer which could cause them to leak fuel. If this happens there is an increased risk of fire. Vehicles recalled: 197.
Fallout from Ford Recalls Compared to GM Recalls
While the latest Ford recalls contribute to the year’s overall record number of vehicle recalls, Ford’s recalls do not appear to reflect a deeper internal problem that some believe may exist at GM. One recent GM problem was kept from consumers for over 10 years. The defect also resulted in multiple deaths. As a result, GM’s CEO had to appear in Washington on at least 2 occasions to respond to questions from lawmakers regarding safety concerns.
While the recall of 3 million vehicles should be of concern to Ford management as well as owners of Ford vehicles, there does not appear to be a feeling among lawmakers that there is a pervasive or systemic internal problem at Ford that should be investigated.