Dearborn, MI – October 27, 2016 – A component in the door latches may break in select Ford vehicles which prevents the doors from latching shut and may lead to a driver believing all the doors are shut when in fact, they are not, according to a report from the National Traffic Safety Administration. Besides the obvious inconvenience of having doors that don’t lock, doors that are closed the wrong way run the risk of flying open without a moment’s notice. For plenty of reasons, such a scenario would not be ideal for the driver or any passengers.
Ford is recalling certain model year Ford Focuses manufactured anytime from 2012 to 2015, Ford Escapes from 2013 to 2015, C-MAXs, Lincoln MKC and Ford Mustangs from 2015 as well as Ford Transit Connect vehicles manufactured between 2014 and 2016. Keeping drivers and passengers inside the car while it is moving is paramount to safety, but the bad latches may make that a problem. As of September 2, 2016, Ford’s investigation into the matter had found one accident and three alleged injuries as a result of the faulty latch. There are more than 2.3 million vehicles affected by this recall.
Timeline of Ford’s Response
- October 2015: Ford’s analysis of warranty and field data discovered the problem in the door latches and submitted the issue to Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group.
- December 2015 – March 2016: Ford conducted a return analysis and comprehensive data analysis of reports. The Fiesta and Fusion models were recalled as well.
- January 7, 2016: Ford opened an earlier investigation as the result of 2013-2015 investigation into similar reports that occurred from 2013 to 2015. Ford Escapes were mentioned a lot on those reports.
- March 3, 2016: The 2013 Ford Focus vehicles had notable problems with latches the ability to open.
- April 14, 2016: Although specific causes for the door latch malfunction could not be readily identified, Ford took notice of the fact that there were several instances of faulty door latches across various Ford vehicles.
- April – June 2016: Although there was a pattern in the gathered data, there was no hard evidence to prove the pinpoint location of the problem. Although the potential for a problem existed, there was no evidence of a precise solution.
- June 23, 2016: Ford noted patterns emerging from the data, but did not acknowledge anything specific.
- July 2016: Ford Focus and Escape vehicles with latches made from the same facility in Mexico reported issues with the vehicles. On July 29, 2016, Ford’s Field Review Committee approved a safety recall for the most at-risk vehicles based on the data presented to them.
- August 4-26, 2016: Through ongoing discussions with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford extended their safety recall for every vehicle that falls under this category.
- September 1, 2016: Ford’s Field Review Committee reviewed the concern and approved action.
Ford’s solution to the defect starts with notifying all of the owners of the problems associated with their vehicles. Next, dealerships will schedule appointments with the customers to replace the faulty door latches with improved parts, free of charge. Because replacement parts are limited, individual owners will be sent an interim notification beginning on October 3, 2016. Parts should become available during the second quarter of 2017, and customers will be notified when parts are available.