For Sale By:Dealer
Disability Equipped: No
Sub Model: Titanium
Drive Train: Front Wheel Drive
American Fork, Utah, United States
If a college student is caught smuggling drugs across the border, one might think the kid got what was coming to him. But when a Mexican student at the University of Texas in El Paso was caught by Border Patrol agents with duffel bags filled with marijuana in his trunk, the man used a classic excuse: He claimed they weren't his.
While a claim like that is almost unbelievable, Ricardo Magallanes, the student, is now suing Ford for handling its vehicles' key codes negligently enough to allow drug smugglers to break into his Ford Focus and stash the drugs, The Daily Caller reports. The twist here is that four other people who lived in Juarez and worked in El Paso were involved in the same type of scheme - allegedly unwittingly, just like Magallanes - and all the cars were Fords except one model from General Motors. FBI agents also found an employee at a Dallas Ford dealership that had accessed the key codes to all four of the cannabis-stuffed Fords.
While we all may not own Fords, the case still causes us slight paranoia. We'll definitely be checking our trunks before we cross any more international borders.
Ford is in a bit of a pickle for importing and selling Turkey-built Transit Connect cargo vans as passenger vehicles in the US, then converting them to commercial-vehicle specification stateside in an effort to bypass a 25-percent tax imposed on vehicles imported for commercial use. Automakers are required to pay a 2.5-percent tax on imported passenger vehicles.
The Blue Oval got into trouble for this in a January ruling in which U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials asked Ford to stop the practice of importing the Transit Connect vehicles with passenger seats, then removing and shredding them. Now Automotive News reports that Ford is appealing the ruling. The 25-percent "Chicken Tax," as the tariff is often called, is 50 years old and was enacted as a response to a German tariff on chickens. Like Ford, Chrysler bypasses the higher tariff, but it does so in a different manner. It partially disassembles Sprinter cargo vans before shipping them to the US, then rebuilds them at a plant in South Carolina.
But the ruling against Ford's strategy states that it "serves no manufacturing or commercial purpose" and is there to "manipulate the tariff schedule," Automotive News reports. As Ford's appeal goes through, it is importing the Transit Connect and paying the higher tax, hoping for a favorable outcome and planning to build the next-generation Transit Connect, which it plans to launch before the end of the year, in Spain.
Ford has announced a major recall of 850,000 vehicles from model years 2013 and 2014 due to a problem with the "restraints control module."
According to Ford, a short circuit could develop in the module, causing the airbag warning light to illuminate. In more severe cases, dependent on where the short develops, the airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners may not work in the event of an accident. The problems can be more wide-ranging than that, too, as systems that rely on information from the control module, such as the stability control can be affected.
With 850,000 vehicles affected, it's no surprise that some of Ford's volume leaders are covered. That includes the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans, as well as the incredibly recall-prone Escape and the C-Max MPV.