Ford Is Under Investigation By the NHTSA For Mishandling Recalls

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Last updated Sep 22, 2023

In recent years, automotive recalls have become almost commonplace. Yet, when an automotive giant like Ford faces not one, but two investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into the adequacy of their recall remedies, it warrants concern. Here’s the latest on Ford’s recall investigation, and how you can check if your car is impacted. 

Ford Focus Recall Under Scrutiny

Ford NHTSA recall

Back in October 2018, Ford issued a massive recall for over 1.2 million 2012-18 Ford Focus sedans. The prescribed solution was for dealers to reprogram the powertrain control module and, where necessary, replace the canister purge valve.

However, a second recall was initiated in July 2019. This covered approximately 57,000 2012-14 and 2017 Focus sedans, which, although included in the 2018 recall, did not get the intended powertrain control module update.

Now, the NHTSA is probing whether Ford’s recall solutions effectively addressed the underlying problem. Auto News reports that they’ve received 98 complaints from consumers regarding failure of the canister purge valve in the 2012-18 Focus models. Some of these vehicles had already undergone the recall remedy, whereas others had never been recalled but displayed the same defect. This has raised suspicions that Ford isn’t adequately addressing recalls. Whether this has been due to Ford’s internal policy or mere accident is up for debate.

A New Ford Recall Impacts the EcoSport

Ford EcoSport recall

A separate investigation is now looking into the 2018-21 Ford EcoSport vehicles. This came in the wake of 95 consumer complaints about engine failures due to a sudden loss of oil pressure. In a particularly concerning report, a vehicle owner stated the oil light came on even when the oil was full, leading to engine malfunction. This isn’t a cheap fix, either. The severity of the issue is such that it often requires a complete engine replacement.

Ford Leads in Recalls and Investigations

In response to the unfolding events, Ford spokesperson Maria Buczkowski assured that Ford is actively cooperating with the NHTSA’s inquiries.

Recalls, although common, are usually decisive and efficient solutions to potential safety risks. What makes this situation exceptional is the frequency of Ford’s recalls. Not only has Ford topped the recall charts for the past three years, but 2023 alone has seen the company issue 44 recalls, affecting a staggering 4.6 million vehicles. 

Is Ford’s recall a big deal? This is not the first, but the second time that Ford has faced an official NHTSA recall investigation this year. Automotive News reports that in August, the NHTSA announced that it was looking into Ford’s handling of a recall for 2022 Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUVs. The 2022 recall was meant to address sudden power loss in 50,000 Mustang Mach E’s.  

These five automakers have the most recalls in 2023: 

  • Ford (44 recalls)
  • Chrysler (34 recalls)
  • BMW (22 recalls)
  • Mercedes-Benz (18 recalls)
  • Nissan (18 recalls)

According to new NHTSA stats, Ford issued 67 recalls in 2022. In 2022, Volkswagen had the second highest number of recalls, followed by Daimler Trucks North America and Chrysler.

CEO: Quality Control Fixes to Take Years

With recalls being a pressing issue, one has to wonder about the root cause. Ford’s CEO, Jim Farley, has not shied away from acknowledging the elephant in the room. He’s openly admitted to quality control being a significant concern and has promised to prioritize fixing these issues. Farley has been quoted saying, “Fixing quality is my No. 1 priority,” but also cautioned that resolution will be a gradual process, spanning several years.

Perhaps having not one but two open NHTSA investigations will hasten the pace of Ford’s long-term solution for the quality control that plague the company.

Check if your car’s VIN number is impacted by any recalls. 


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