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Ford F-150 Recall Expanded

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F-150It looks like a government probe into the recurring issues with Ford’s F-150 trucks has just expanded to close to three million vehicles.

Zack’s Equity Research covered the probe in great detail. Since the F-150 is Ford’s main moneymaker, the possible repercussions of the probe and the associated publicity could have quite an impact:

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that it has recently included 1.3 million more vehicles into its investigation of Ford Motor Co.’s (F – Analyst Report) best selling pickup, F-150, related to a problem with the traps holding fuel tanks that can rust and break. This has brought the total vehicles under the probe to 2.7 million vehicles. The pickup trucks belong to the 1997-2001 model years.

The probe was opened in September last year after receiving 32 consumer complaints by the safety regulators. As many as 1.4 million F-150 pickup trucks were suspected of possibly having the problem.

Last month, 1.35 million F-150s in the U.S. and Canada were recalled for a separate issue, their faulty airbags. Last February, Ford also issued a recall for over 360,000 F-150s for yet another defect. On that occasion, it was interior door handles. All in all, this seems to be a year plagued by auto safety issues for the embattled company.

Matthew DeBord, a writer for the CBS Interactive Business Network (BNET), chimes in:

The good news is that this isn’t likely to mushroom into the equivalent of Toyota’s (TM) Great Recall of 2010. The bad news for Ford, though, is that it’s happening at all. Its 2004-06 F-150s have an airbag issue and have been recalled, while 1997-2001 F-150s may have something amiss with their gas tanks and haven’t yet been recalled. Overall, NHTSA’s efforts has affected more than 4 million trucks. And you can bet Ford is concerned, because the F-150 has been the best-selling ride in the U.S. for more than 30 years.

I have to agree with DeBord that the substantive difference between the Ford recalls and the now infamous Toyota recalls is that there have been no injuries of fatalities reported so far that relate to the Ford issues. While there is still the potential for auto accidents and injuries as a result of these issues, the fact that no one has been hurt (that we are aware of at this time) is a major positive.

Image by Fatback[Dale] (Dale Moore), used under its Creative Commons license.


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