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Ford recalls 2.9 million vehicles, saying they might roll while in park

The company is recalling Escape, Fusion, C-Max, Edge and Transit Connect vehicles from various years

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cited the risk of an “unintentional rollaway” and noted that the problem can also cause the vehicle “to move in an unexpected direction.” (David Zalubowski/AP)
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Ford Motor Company warned that some of its cars and trucks may roll into people and cause injuries after a driver puts them in park, prompting the company to dramatically expand an ongoing recall effort.

Ford said it is recalling 2.9 million Escape, Fusion, C-Max, Edge and Transit Connect vehicles from various years because of a potential defect in a part that attaches the shifter cable to the transmission.

If that part, known as a bushing, is damaged or missing, the car might not shift into the intended gear, with no indication to the driver that anything is amiss, increasing risks while parked or driving, the company said.

In a letter to the company Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cited the risk of an “unintentional rollaway” and noted that the problem can also cause the vehicle “to move in an unexpected direction.”

Ford said it knows of four reports of injuries that might have been caused by the problem.

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“The driver does not receive a warning message or audible chime,” Ford said in a regulatory filing submitted Friday. Leaving the vehicle without it actually being in park and without the parking brake on could allow it to keep moving, “increasing the risk of injury or crash,” the company said.

Outside of problems in park, “the driver may also notice the defect if they attempt to shift to an intended gear and the vehicle responds differently than intended,” Ford said.

Ford said it had previously recalled the potentially defective component in a more targeted fashion, including in 192,000 Transit Connect vans last year.

In April, Ford received additional documentation from NHTSA on problems drivers faced with the defect “that Ford was not previously aware of,” the company said, adding that its analysis found “a change in the consumer complaint data” that moved it to take further action.

The company said projected failures remained low, but it decided to recall the remaining vehicles in North America that have the affected part. Ford estimated 1 percent of the 2.9 million recalled vehicles have the defect.

Ford will replace the part and add a protective cap, it said.

NHTSA said the recall applies to certain 2013-2019 Escapes; 2013-2018 C-Maxes; 2013-2016 Fusions; 2015-2018 Edge vehicles; and 2013-2021 Transit Connects.

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