(Adds Ford U.S. recall figure from 2013, fires in corrosion
issue, analyst comment)
By Bernie Woodall
DETROIT May 29 Ford Motor Co said on
Thursday it is recalling 1.39 million SUVs and sedans in North
America, most for the possible loss of power steering.
About 1.186 million of the vehicles Ford said it is
recalling are in the United States. That figure is only 2,200
shy of the total number of vehicles that Ford recalled in the
United States during all of last year.
Automakers are giving heightened scrutiny to safety issues
in the wake of General Motors Co's ongoing safety crisis
that began with an ignition-switch issue in older-model cars.
So far this year, GM has recalled 15.8 million vehicles
Analyst Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book said Ford's spate of
recalls on Thursday may be "driven by the heightened sense of
concern all automakers are feeling right now, though we'll
likely never know for sure."
Brauer added that there have been so many recalls since
February when GM issued its first ignition-switch recall that
the actions have become "sort of background white noise for
Ford said it will recall 195,527 Explorer SUVs in North
America from the 2011 to 2013 model years and 915,216 Ford
Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs from model years 2008 to 2011 on
power steering issues.
In addition, it will recall nearly 200,000 Taurus sedans in
North America from the 2010 to 2014 model years on a corrosion
Finally, Ford is also recalling 82,576 sedans with floor
mats that may interfere with the operation of accelerator
pedals. The floor mats were put in 2006 to 2011 model year Ford
Fusion and Mercury Milan and Lincoln Zephyr and MKZ sedans.
The loss of power steering can increase the risk of a crash
when vehicles are traveling at lower rates of speed.
U.S. regulators have received consumer reports of six
injuries and five crashes related to the Escape and Mariner
models, Ford said.
As of mid-April, Ford said it was aware of 15 accidents
including two minor injuries believed to be related to the loss
of power steering in Explorer SUVs. The accidents all involved
vehicles moving at lower speeds, Ford said.
In cold-weather U.S. states and Canadian provinces where
road salt is used, corrosion can affect license plate lamps
which in turn may cause a short circuit that could start a fire,
Ford said. A Ford spokeswoman said the company is aware of 18
consumer reports of fires believed to be associated with this
Ford did not say how much the recall campaigns are expected
to cost. For the Mercury Mariner and Ford Escape recalls,
dealers are to be notified on Thursday and letters to all
affected U.S. owners will be sent by July 25, the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
There may be additional vehicles included in the recall
campaigns outside of North America, Ford said.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid and