* Ford says assembly glitch could cause airbag problem
* Recall covers popular pickup trucks built in 2004-05
* Owners to be notified of recall in March
DETROIT, Feb 23 Ford Motor Co (F.N) said it
would recall about 144,000 F-150 models in the United States
and Canada from the 2005 and 2006 model years due to a risk
that airbags could deploy because of a short circuit.
The automaker said a mistake in the assembly of the trucks
at its Norfolk, Virginia plant could cause an airbag wire in
the steering wheel to short circuit.
Ford said that it received an unspecified number of
complaints about the airbag problem. In most cases, airbags had
deployed just a few seconds after the trucks were started.
A response to NHTSA this week from Ford said the automaker
believes, "the condition does not present an unreasonable risk
to motor vehicle safety. However, to avoid a protracted
discussion with the agency and to provide repair to those
vehicles most likely to exhibit the condition, Ford is
recalling those vehicles produced at the Norfolk Assembly Plant
from November 1, 2004, through June 30, 2005."
Ford has now recalled more than 1 million vehicles in the
first two months of this year, more than the 600,000 recalled
for all of 2010.
A recall notice was not immediately posted on the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website and it was not
immediately clear how many drivers complained about the
problem, or if there had been any reports of related injuries.
"Ford is aware of one customer that jumped from the vehicle
after a deployment that occurred in a driveway," the company
said in a statement.
The F-150 is the top-selling vehicle in the United States
and Ford's dominance of the lucrative truck market has
contributed to its turnaround under Chief Executive Alan
Ford said it would notify owners of the vehicles covered by
the recall in early March.
The automaker said it expected the repair to replace the
potentially flawed wiring harness would take less than half a
day and would be done at no charge at Ford dealerships.
Ford said most of the vehicles with the flawed wire
appeared to have been built during the first shift working at
the Norfolk plant from November 2004 to June 2005.
In cases where the airbag has deployed in the trucks, Ford
said a warning light had been illuminated notifying driver's
that the vehicle needed service.
(Reporting by Kevin Krolicki; editing by Gerald E. McCormick,
Tim Dobbyn and Andre Grenon)