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Auto blogMon, 25 Feb 2013 17:31:00 EST
Owners of Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan models, listen up. According to a report on Automotive News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into these four vehicles totaling an estimated 725,000 units. The investigation appears to center around a malfunctioning throttle body on non-hybrid models of the 2005-2012 Escape and 2011-2012 Fusion. With Mercury dying off after the 2011 model year, this probe will also apply to the 2005 through 2011 Mariner and the 2011 Milan. There has been some discussion around the Escape stalling issue for some time now, but this investigation appears to be larger in scope than before.
Though not a recall yet, NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 123 complaints of stalling or surging vehicles, while Ford itself has logged 1,472 complaints. The investigation report, which is posted below, seems to indicate that a faulty circuit board for the throttle body could cause the vehicle to go into limp mode, which, according to NHTSA, could cause complaints of both stalling and surging.
The Detroit News is reporting that Ford will recall some 370,000 Crown Victoria (pictured), Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car vehicles from model years 2005 through 2011, for an issue regarding the lower intermediate steering shaft. 355,000 of the vehicles in question were sold in the US, with the other 15,000 sold in Canada.
The report indicates that corrosion of the lower intermediate steering shaft could cause a "loss of steering," presumably because of a partial or complete failure of the part. The report points out the dealers will inspect and replace the offending steering component for recalled cars, and may also secure a lower steering column bearing and replace the upper intermediate steering shaft as needed. The company is unaware of any reports of the faulty part causing any accidents or injuries.
Ford helpfully lists states in which corrosion is more likely to have taken place, mostly in the Snow Belt, as you might guess. Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia are listed.
Analysts are saying that Ford Motor Company may have earned a record $2.7 billion pretax profit in North America during the first quarter of 2013, a number that represents its highest first quarter profit ever. The impressive earnings are further proof that the American automaker is making a solid comeback as the economy begins to recover.
Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase are estimating that Ford's first quarter North American profit may have topped 12 percent. The firm cited the automaker's fresh lineup, but noted that CEO Alan Mulally needs to uphold the pace as the company works to gain ground in the car and utility segments.
Ford's success has been led by increased demand for its F-Series pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the US for 31 years, and by the Fusion sedan that recently recorded its best-ever quarterly sales in the domestic market. Ford is expected to release its first-quarter revenue on Wednesday, of this week.