DETROIT -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into an estimated 200,000 2010-11 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner small crossovers because of shattering liftgate glass.
There have been 18 complaints of shattered liftgate glass and four injuries involving the crossovers built on or before Oct. 10, 2010, according to a NHTSA report detailing the investigation, which was launched April 27.
"The complaints alleged that the liftgate glass shattered spontaneously, while opening the liftgate or while closing the liftgate," according to the report. Many of these incidents occurred in colder temperatures, NHTSA said.
In one case cited in the report, a woman said she and her 10-year-old son were cut by glass fragments when the liftgate of her vehicle shattered.
In November, Ford Motor Co. issued a technical service bulletin to dealers informing them of the issue.
In the bulletin, Ford told dealers to "correct the condition by replacing the liftgate window glass after closely inspecting for any signs of impact or external damage that may have caused the glass breakage. If no evidence of external damage is found, then proceed with glass replacement."
Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood said the automaker is "aware of the investigation and will cooperate with the government as they review the matter."
Ford has had previous trouble with liftgate glass on its Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer SUVs. In September 2004, Ford recalled about 955,000 of the 2002-03 vehicles because of faulty strut brackets and hinges. The components could loosen and fail, causing the glass to break. According to NHTSA documents, there were 165 reports of injuries and almost 5,000 complaints of broken windows on Mountaineers and Explorers.
Separately, the safety agency said it opened an investigation covering 288,000 2002-04 Honda CR-V crossovers after complaints that the headlights stopped working. NHTSA said it has received 12 complaints alleging low-beam headlights stopped working simultaneously.
"Several of the complainants report the headlight switch and its wiring harness connector required replacement to repair the low beam head light circuit," NHTSA said. "It was also reported the switch and connector had become damaged by overheating/melting."
A spokesman for Honda said the company is cooperating with NHTSA.
Reuters contributed to this report.