DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co said it would recall about 144,000 F-150 models in the United States and Canada from the 2005 and 2006 model years over 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 had received an unspecified number of complaints about the airbag problem. In most cases, it said, airbags had deployed just a few seconds after the trucks were started.
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 had complained of 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 Mulally.
Ford said it would notify owners of the vehicles covered by the recall in early March.
The automaker said it expected that 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 that 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 that a warning light had been illuminated notifying driver’s that the vehicle needed service.
Reporting by Kevin Krolicki, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Tim Dobbyn
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.