NHTSA reopens probe into Ford lighting failures

UPDATED: 4/6/15 3:29 pm ET - adds Ford statement

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will reopen an investigation in which it previously decided not to recall more than half a million Ford Motor Co. cars with possibly defective lighting controls.

The Transportation Department said in a notice posted on its website that the Office of Defects Investigation received a petition from the North Carolina Consumers Council Inc. requesting an investigation of headlight and exterior lighting failures on 2003-05 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis sedans.

The lighting malfunction is said to occur while the vehicles are in motion.

A Ford spokeswoman said Monday the company would cooperate with NHTSA.

The cars had previously been investigated from November 2008 to March 2009, when the department concluded "a safety- related defect has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted."

The new investigation was opened April 1 and covers 517,945 cars.

The lighting incidents have prompted 604 consumer complaints through April 1, including seven reports of vehicle crashes relating to the failure of the front lighting control module, according to the consumers council.

Ford had previously extended warranty coverage for lighting control failures. Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker wasn't immediately available to comment.

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