Ford recalls 11,500 new Escapes to address engine-fire risk
Customers urged to seek repairs 'immediately'
Ford is recalling all 2013 Escapes with 1.6-liter engines to replace engine compartment fuel lines that can split and leak fuel, causing fires under the hood.
WASHINGTON -- Ford Motor Co. is recalling 11,500 new Escape SUVs in North America because of a risk of engine fires.
Ford said in a statement that it is recalling model year 2013 Escapes with 1.6-liter engines to replace engine compartment fuel lines that can split and leak fuel, causing fires under the hood.
"Our intensive investigation and testing has identified the area of concern and we are moving as quickly as possible to repair vehicles for our customers," Ray Nevi, assistant director of Ford's automotive safety office, said in a statement. "In the meantime, it is extremely important that affected customers not ignore this recall and immediately contact their dealer."
It is extremely rare for an automaker to warn drivers to stop driving a recalled vehicle. Ford told owners to contact their local Ford dealer immediately so that loaner vehicles can be delivered.
Ford said the recalled Escapes will be picked up and transferred to dealerships for repair.
Dealers were also told to stop selling 2013 Ford Escape SUVs with 1.6-liter engines until they are repaired.
No injuries have been reported from the defect, the company said. The recall doesn't apply to Escapes with other engines. Ford said 9,300 of the Escapes being recalled are in the United States and the remainder are located in Canada.
"It's a liability thing on their part," said Aaron Bragman of IHS Global Insight. "They don't want people driving it if its happened when they were just shuttling them at the plant."
Bragman referred to the fact that of the three incidents of under-the-hood fires reported by Ford, two occurred at the production plant as they were being shuttled from assembly line to a parking lot to await shipment.
The Escape has lost the title as best-selling small crossover in the first half of this year to the Honda CR-V, which has seen sales rise 32 percent compared to the 4-percent sales gain for Escape.
Ford spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said the automaker is hopeful that consumers will see this as an issue that the automaker fixed quickly and alerted them in a timely fashion.
"This is not a routine action that we are taking but we do believe it is appropriate in these circumstances," said Zwiebel.
She said one of the fires was reported in an Escape in consumer hands, near Toronto.
It is the second time in a week that Ford has recalled the redesigned Escape.
Ford said last weekend it was recalling almost 8,300 2013 Escapes in the United States because improperly installed carpeting may interfere with a driver's application of the brake pedal.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on July 17 said it was opening an investigation of about 730,000 older Escapes after receiving 99 complaints about unintended acceleration.
Bloomberg, Reuters and David Phillips contributed to this reportContact Automotive News