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Old 02-23-2005, 05:56   #1 (permalink)
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US:Safety agency focuses on Ford seat belts

Safety agency focuses on Ford seat belts

Million vehicles could be recalled 2nd time

BY RIP WATSON
BLOOMBERG

Ford Motor Co. is the focus of an upgraded U.S. safety investigation that could lead to a second recall of almost 1 million vehicles, including F-Series pickup trucks, for flaws in seat belts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a Web site notice Tuesday that it's probing seat-belt failures on 2001 F-Series full-size pickups, Windstar minivans and other vehicles. The agency cited more than 10,000 warranty claims involving buckles that continued to fail after they were repaired under a 2001 recall.

"A reopened investigation is a rare occurrence, and rarer still does that investigation result in another recall," Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said.

Since 1998 there have been nine such reopened investigations involving Ford, she said. Two have resulted in recalls. Four were closed without further action, and one investigation continues. In two other cases, Ford extended warranties or took other steps to satisfy customers, Kinley said.

Ford, the second-largest U.S. automaker, also is the subject of a separate upgraded investigation of 384,070 F-Series pickups and other vehicles from the 2003 and 2004 model years. The F-Series is the nation's best-selling vehicle and accounted for 28 percent of the company's 3.32 million U.S. sales last year.

F-Series models with six-liter engines can stall at low speeds, fail to start or can't be restarted. Ford has 12,536 warranty claims on the affected vehicles and reports of 14 crashes and two injuries, the agency's summary shows.

Ford last year told dealers about the stalling complaints and doesn't believe they represent a safety problem, Kinley said.

U.S. auto recalls last year rose 61 percent to a record 30.7 million. General Motors Corp., the biggest automaker, accounted for more than a third of the total. Ford's recalls climbed 48 percent in 2004 to 5.04 million.

More than seven in 10 upgraded investigations result in recalls, the agency reports.
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My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.

My next Ford.....
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