Ford recalls 1.4 million cars in North America because of power steering loss and corrosion problems. Other car companies have also recalled millions of cars so far this year. Experts predict 2014 will be a record year for faulty vehicle recalls.
Over 20 million vehicles have been recalled this year in the US. In 2004 (a record year), a total of 30.8 million vehicles were recalled.
Carmakers under pressure
Of the four recalls listed below, three were because of pressure from American and Canadian auto safety regulators seeking repairs of the cars, a sign that after the GM recall crisis, government agencies are taking a harder line with vehicle manufacturers. Rather than fight the regulators Ford chose to recall the vehicles.
- 915,216 Mercury Mariner and Ford Escape SUVs (sports utility vehicles) made in the years 2008 to 2011, which may have power steering problems.
- 195,527 Explorer SUV’s model years 2011 to 2013. They may also have power steering issues.
- Nearly 200,000 Taurus sedans model years 2010 to 2014. They may have corrosion problems.
- 82,576 sedans that may have floor mats that could interfere with the accelerator pedal. Model years 2006 to 2011 for the following cars may be affected: Ford Fusion, MKZ, and Lincoln Zyphyr.
15 accidents and 18 fires
Power steering issues – cars are at a higher risk of crashing when power steering is lost and they are traveling at lower speeds.
Ford says it has received reports of 15 accidents since the middle of April 2014, two of which caused minor injuries, related to loss of steering in its Explorer SUVs. In all cases, the cars were traveling slowly.
Corrosion problems – a Ford spokesperson said the company has received 18 consumer reports of fires, probably caused by short circuits following corrosion in the license plate lamps.
In one case, a driver tried to put the fire out with his hand, injuring it. The incidences of corrosion increased during the winter in the US and Canada when road salt was used.
Aftermath of GM scandal
US car manufacturers are under more intense pressure to issue recalls since the General Motors scandal which cost the company a $35 million dollar fine for delays in recalling small cars with defective ignition switches.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Board (NHTSA) said it was the largest civil fine ever levied on a car company following a recall investigation.
The defective switches, which interfered with the deployment of airbags and the sudden shutoff of the engines, had been linked to 13 deaths. GM recalled 2.6 million small vehicles.
US law stipulates that carmakers must notify NHTSA about any safety-related faults within five working days of identifying them. In a Consent Order, GM admitted that it failed to do so.
(2014 will probably be a record year for recalls in the US)
Toyota massive global recall
In April 2014, Toyota recalled 6.4 million cars after defects were found with a spiral cable, the engine starter, seat rails, steering columns and windshield wipers. Toyota said it received reports of two fires, but no injuries, crashes or fatalities.
Toyota has recalled more than 25 million vehicles worldwide over the last 30 months.