C-Max hybrids also included

Ford issues two more recalls for Escape

C-Max hybrids also included

Ford has recalled the current generation of the Escape 10 times.
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DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said today that it is issuing two more recalls of the Ford Escape crossover, putting the number of recalls covering the Escape since its 2013 redesign into double digits.

The recalls relate to a software glitch that could delay airbag deployment in a crash and exterior door handles that might not latch properly.

Each one covers about 700,000 vehicles globally from the 2013-14 model years, including roughly 600,000 in the United States. The airbag software recall also includes about 65,000 C-Max hybrids.

Escapes built from Feb. 15 through April 10 are covered by the door handle recall but not airbag software recall, while those built before Feb. 15 are covered by both recalls. Ford said it does not know of any crashes or injuries related to either recall.

Ford said the airbag software defect could delay deployment of the side-curtain airbags in some rollover accidents, increasing the risk of injuries. Dealers will be instructed to reprogram the restraint control module.

The door handle problem could make doors difficult to close or cause them to open while driving, potentially injuring an occupant, Ford said. Dealers will inspect the handles and reposition them if necessary.

Customers will be notified by the end of May, and repairs for both recalls can be performed simultaneously.

Previous recalls

Ford sent a service bulletin to dealers in December 2012 for exterior door handles that it said could bind or stick, particularly in cold weather, according to information posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said she did not think that bulletin was related to the same issue that the recall addresses.

NHTSA’s Web site lists two complaints related to troublesome door handles, one of which said a door swung open while the vehicle was moving. No complaints about the airbag problem are posted.

One of the Escape recalls in 2012 told owners to stop driving the vehicle immediately.

In April, Ford recalled Escapes built during a two-month period last summer for substandard seat welds that could cause the seat back to become loose or lean. That recall also covered the C-Max, Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, with a total of 43,135 vehicles affected.

Ford recalled the current generation of Escapes three times in 2013 and four times in 2012. Four of the recalls related to problems that could result in a fire. In one case in 2012, Ford cited a fuel line problem in the new Escape that could cause an engine fire. In that case, Ford took the unusual action of telling owners to stop driving the vehicle immediately.

The Escape is Ford’s third-best seller in the United States, behind the Fusion and F-series, and the industry’s second-best selling crossover, behind the Honda CR-V. U.S. sales of the Escape rose 13 percent last year to 295,993, but they are down 3 percent this year through April, in contrast to a 14 percent increase in sales of compact crossovers across the industry.

You can reach Nick Bunkley at nbunkley@crain.com. -- Follow Nick on Twitter

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