St. Thomas-made cars being recalled
By NORMAN DE BONO, FREE PRESS BUSINESS REPORTER
Almost 80,000 St. Thomas-made Ford vehicles will be recalled over fears a fire may start in their engines.
Ford Motor Co. is recalling 78,392 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis sedans because a battery cable may rub against the car's frame, causing wires to be exposed resulting in heat damage or fires.
"We are acting very quickly on this issue so we are hoping it should not affect the brand," Ford spokesperson Kristen Kinley said yesterday.
The recall will not affect production at the St. Thomas plant, now shut down for the week as sales of the cars have dropped significantly and vehicle inventory is high.
"This will not impact the plant," said Kinley. "It is a pretty simple procedure, they are just tying the battery cable away from the vehicle to prevent it from chafing."
The affected vehicles were built from March 2004 through February 2005.
"We are in the process of mailing letters to owners of the vehicles, to make an appointment with the dealer," she added.
Most of the cars are in the United States.
Ford also is recalling about 20,000 Lincoln Town Cars, made in Michigan, over the same concern.
In addition, Ford is recalling more than 123,000 Ford Freestyle crossover vehicles, Ford Five Hundred sedans and Mercury Montego vehicles over fears the fuel tank may fall off after 100,000 miles of driving.
A Ford investigation found the strap's manufacturer changed to a weaker grade of steel in December 2004 that could not meet Ford's durability requirements. Ford didn't name the supplier.
Kinley said there have been no reported injuries in the cases. Dealers will inspect the vehicles and fix them, if necessary, at no additional cost.