WASHINGTON Oct 3 U.S. auto safety regulators
said Monday they are opening two new preliminary investigations
into 642,000 Ford sport utility vehicles and cars over door
latch warning light and steering issues.
Ford Motor Co, the second largest U.S. automaker, said
last month it was reducing its adjusted full-year pre-tax profit
forecast to $10.2 billion from at least $10.8 billion it
predicted in July because of a $640 million charge for an
expanded side-door latch recall.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) said Monday it was opening a probe into 380,000
2011-2013 Ford Edge SUVs after receiving 1,560 reports of "door
ajar" lights. Owners reported they are uncertain if vehicle
doors are properly latched.
In the door-latch probe, safety issues such as doors opening
while driving, doors unable to be locked while driving, and
interior dome lights staying on continuously were reported. One
injury has been reported, but no crashes.
NHTSA also said Monday the agency is opening a separate
investigation into 262,000 2010 Ford Fusion cars for steering
issues. The 547 complaints about power steering included sudden
failures of the system and were linked to 12 crashes and four
injuries. NHTSA previously investigated the issue in 2014 and
Ford issued a recall of 2011 and 2012 Fusion cars.
In September, Ford said it was expanding a recall for door
latches by 1.5 million vehicles to 2.4 million vehicles because
the door may unlatch while vehicles are in motion.
Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said the Edge door
latches were not involved in previous recalls and the automaker
will cooperate with NHTSA. "We continuously evaluate our
processes for potential improvements and when the data indicates
a safety recall is needed, we move quickly," she said.
Ford has recalled nearly 4 million vehicles for door latch
issues in six separate recalls since 2014, including the 2.4
million vehicles recalled in the last two months.
Ford said the expansion was at NHTSA's request after the
automaker in August issued a regional recall covering 830,000
vehicles. The recall includes the 2013-15 Ford C-MAX and Ford
Escape, 2012-15 Ford Focus, 2015 Ford Mustang and Lincoln MKC
and 2014-16 Ford Transit Connect vans.
NHTSA said in 2015 it had 1,102 reports related to the
problem and Ford said it had 10,883 warranty claims related to
door latch failures. Some owners told NHTSA they used ropes or
tape or seatbelts to restrain doors.
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Alden Bentley)