A week on from Ford announcing job cuts in Australia, a problem with a company that manufactures fuel lines for the carmaker in the US has forced the recall of thousands of brand-new Escape small SUVs.
The company issued an immediate announcement for all owners, urging anyone who owns the vehicle to stop driving them right away, saying there was a risk of an engine fire.
In documents posted by Ford, on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, the company revealed fuel lines were “mechanically scored” or damaged on the outside during manufacturing. The lines, made by a TI Group Automotive Systems plant in Indiana, can split when pushed over a connector fitting, and leaking fuel could ignite.
The problem, which affects only 2013 Escapes equipped with 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engines, has seen the recall involve 11,500 Escapes. There have been 4,800 vehicles already sold to customers; while the rest remain in dealerships.
TI Automotive spokesman Frank Buscemi said in an email that the company is “working with Ford to identify root cause and resolve the issue.”
The problem was first discovered on June 9 when a newly built Escape caught fire while a Ford worker was driving it from the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky to a holding lot for shipping, the documents said. After two more fires — one on June 18 involving an Escape being driven by a customer in Canada — Ford engineers determined that the problem involved the engine compartment fuel line. Fortunately nobody was injured in the fires.
“Vehicles are not to be driven until this repair has been completed,” Ford said in a letter dated Thursday, with the company expecting to have the repairs completed within two weeks.
Ford is also recalling more than 10,000 Escapes to fix carpet padding that could interfere with braking.
Customers may get further information about these and other recalls at www.fordowner.com or they may contact Ford’s Customer Relationship Center at 1-866-436-7332.