Ford Faces More Scrutiny From NHTSA

Jul.19.12 | About: Ford Motor (F)

By Katey Stapleton, Benzinga Staff Writer

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is having a difficult time keeping The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) satisfied these days, as the automaker's Escape model is now under investigation for unintended acceleration. The news comes just a few days after Ford was forced to recall thousands of 2013 Escapes.

According to The Detroit News, this is not the first time Ford has experienced issues with the popular Escape, as the company recalled nearly 500,000 Escapes in 2007 citing a sticky throttle in the 2002-04 models. The identical Mazda Tribute SUV also endured a recall for the exact same reasons.

Now, another issue has arisen. Both the Escape and Tribute are being investigated for similar problems following a crash that killed a 17-year-old girl back in January. The collision has been under examination for many months now following a request from the victim's family for more information.

The similarities between Ford's small SUV acceleration problem and Toyota Motor Corporation's (NYSE:TM) product recalls continue to become more widely publicized. Toyota recalled 154,000 Lexus SUVs in June over the risk of sticky gas pedals that forced involuntary acceleration as well.

Toyota may also face yet another potentially pricey examination following the latest recall. According to The Los Angeles Times, the foreign automaker may be analyzed in the future regarding whether or not the company met its obligation to conduct the Lexus recall in a timely manner.

Constant recalls and investigations warranted for both Ford and Toyota beg the question, how attentive are these motor company's drivers? Further, is Ford the new problem-child when it comes to vehicle safety and consumer loyalty?

Unfortunately, it appears the public won't know for a while. As Ford and Mazda both cooperate with the NHTSA, the investigation is ongoing. However, the Center of Automotive Safety (CAS) is working to persuade those in control to recall the model once more as too many people are in potential danger.

"We ask that you exercise that moral leadership by recalling all Ford Escapes with the defective cruise control cable in the 2002-04 model years to avoid more deaths and injuries, which would otherwise occur if Ford waits" Clarence Ditlow, executive at the CAS said in a letter to Ford's CEO Alan Mulally on July 10.

For now, Ditlow and thousands of drivers will have to sit back and wait to hear a definitive answer regarding unintended acceleration in both the Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute.

Meanwhile, Ford is down nearly 30 percent year-over-year, up around 0.43 percent Thursday afternoon.

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