NEWS: Ford Recalls 110,000 Police Vehicles to Fix Wheels
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
March 7, 2006 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co., the largest maker of U.S. police vehicles, is recalling 109,664 high-performance Crown Victoria Police Interceptor sedans to fix wheels that may crack and cause flat tires.
The affected cars were from the 2003 to 2005 model years and were built in St. Thomas, Ontario, Ford said in a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The recall is the second of its type since 2003 at Ford, which makes about 80 percent of police vehicles sold in the U.S. Police attributed two crashes to the wheels, which the company disputes, Ford spokesman Dan Jarvis said today in an interview.
``These are the cars that are jumping curbs, making sharp turns at high speed and making very fast pursuits where there's a lot of force produced on the wheels,'' Jarvis said. ``In most cases, the cars can continue driving even if cracks form.''
Jarvis declined to say how much the recall will cost Ford, which won't charge owners for replacement wheels. The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is issuing the recall voluntarily and told NHTSA it will begin notifying owners March 12. The recall covers cars built from Oct. 10, 2001, to Dec. 8, 2004, Jarvis said.
Ford hasn't received any reports of injuries related to the latest wheel problem, said Jarvis, who provided no details of the crashes cited by police. Police-pursuit vehicles represent roughly 25 percent of annual production of Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis models.
The 2003 recall involved about 30,000 Crown Victorias for a similar wheel problem. The two recalls aren't related, Jarvis said.
Beginning in 2002, the Crown Victoria police vehicle was the subject of a series of lawsuits claiming that the gas tank's placement behind the rear axle made the car vulnerable to fuel- fed fires in high-speed rear-end crashes. Ford later provided police cruisers with fuel-tank shields for extra protection.