DETROIT Dec 10 A defect that raised the risk of
an engine fire in Ford Motor Co's newly launched Escape
and Fusion models was caused by a glitch in the software that
monitors the vehicles' cooling systems, Ford said on Monday.
The No. 2 U.S. automaker recalled almost 90,000 Escape
crossovers and Fusion sedans on Nov. 30 for the problem, which
affects models equipped with the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine.
The original design of the cooling system was unable to
handle a loss of pressure under certain conditions, which could
trigger a vehicle fire when the engine was running, Ford said.
Ford will update the software in the affected models.
"The software updates will better manage engine temperatures
during a unique overheating condition that could occur under
unique operating conditions," the company said in a statement.
There have been at least nine fires in vehicles owned by
customers, Ford told U.S. safety regulators. Until the software
is updated, Ford is urging customers with 2013 Escape and Fusion
vehicles to contact their dealer for a free replacement vehicle.
"When a potential issue is identified, we act promptly on
behalf of our customers, as we did this time," Ford's global
product development chief Raj Nair said in a statement.
Ford has recalled its 2013 Escape crossover four times since
July, twice for problems with its 1.6-liter turbocharged engine.
The Escape and Fusion are considered Ford's two most critical
launches this year.