Drive Type: RWD/LHD
Trim: Decor Group
Snohomish, Washington, United States
According to a Bloomberg report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into complaints of unintended acceleration lodged against Ford vehicles. The investigation began in June of 2010 when just three complaints had been received and it only concerned the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, but this was at a time when the phrase "unintended acceleration" made grown men go pale. With 49 additional complaints received since then, the investigation has been reclassified as an engineering analysis - the last phase before a recall - and it has been expanded to include the Lincoln MKZ, making for a total of "around 480,000" units affected between the three sedans from the 2008 to 2010 model years.
The ostensible cause is that floor mats are trapping the accelerator pedal, but according to a Ford statement at the time, the entrapment is due to owners placing the optional all-weather floor mats, or aftermarket floor mats, on top of the car's standard floor mats. NHTSA has backed up that assessment, pinning the blame on "unsecured or double stacked floor mats."
On the face of it, it would appear that NHTSA has upgraded the status not because of Ford's error, but owner error, and Ford has stated publicly that it is "disappointed" in NHTSA's move. On top of NHTSA still being skittish after that other unintended acceleration debacle, it could be seen to be taking its time investigating all of the variables: it's reported that Ford changed its accelerator pedal design in 2010, a "heel blocker" in the floorpan has been considered a potential culprit in how the floor mats could be trapping the pedal, some drivers have said the floor mats weren't anywhere near the pedal, and according to a report in the LA Times, in "a letter sent by Ford to NHTSA in August 2010, the automaker said it found three injuries and one fatality that 'may have resulted from the alleged defect.'"
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening an investigation into the 2010-2012 Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ, the 2012 MKZ Hybrid and 2011 Mercury Milan because the agency has hundreds of complaints of electric power steering failure in these models.
According to NHTSA's data, it has received 508 complaints of the power steering allegedly suddenly malfunctioning and resulting in increased effort to turn the wheel. In four incidents, these failures resulted in loss of control and crashes. According to the reports, in some cases a power steering warning message came on as the fault occurred, and other times the system restored itself by turning off and then restarting the vehicle. NHTSA said it has also received further field report data from Ford, but that information hasn't been publicly released yet.
For the moment, there isn't a recall for this failure on these models. NHTSA is just investigating them to "assess the scope, frequency and safety consequences of the alleged defect," and the agency says an estimated 938,000 vehicles could potentially be affected.
Here is your chance to own your very own piece of greased lightning. Well, not the Greased Lighting, it's actually the black, flamed 1949 Mercury convertible that races against John Travolta in the classic 1978 movie Grease, and it's for auction on eBay Motors.
While it appeared in the film's exciting drag race in a Los Angeles storm drain, the hot rod was reportedly lost until last year, when the seller found it as a shell. He verified that it was the actual car with original builder, Eddie Paul, and sent the car for a complete restoration.
The auction includes original parts like the exhaust tips used in the movie and bent bumper from when it hit Travolta's car in the scene. The restorer recreated the scorpion stickers on the doors, razor hubcaps and license plate. He also installed a 1949 Mercury 255-cubic-inch (4.2-liter), flathead V8 and three-speed manual transmission with overdrive.