Ford: ‘We are going to take every possible step to address the safety concerns’
Ford is under mounting pressure from the government and safety experts to speed up the recall process.
The automaker on Monday acknowledged it would take until at least the end of February for it to take steps to fix the defects.
In the meantime, Ford is moving ahead with the recall of 1.7 million vehicles, which are expected to cover more than 20% of the U.S. market, including a third of Ford’s global sales.
The company has not revealed the total number of vehicles affected.
In a letter to shareholders, Ford Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields said the company was working with state regulators and others to address safety concerns.
“We are not aware of any significant delays in our efforts to resolve this matter,” Fields wrote.
He added that the company would be “very transparent about the process we are following.”
Ford’s Chief Safety Officer, David Tisch, on Monday said Ford had “implemented every safety measure to date to address and resolve the issue.”
The company’s decision came after the U,S.
government on Monday told the automaker to suspend sales of the F-150 pickup, Mustang, Explorer and Lincoln Town Car in North America, citing the safety problems.
Affected cars include Ford F-250 pickup trucks, F-350 SUV and F-550 SUV.
The U.K.-based auto industry is also in the middle of a recall of nearly 3 million vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the problem is a failure to properly inspect the tires and brakes.
“The problem stems from the failure of the tire tread, braking system, brake cable and brake pad to meet safety requirements,” NHTSA says in a statement.
“These safety failures are the result of improper brake alignment and braking, and may lead to a reduction in vehicle safety, particularly when compared to vehicles that are equipped with ABS brakes.”
In response to the federal recall, Ford has been lobbying for the government to issue a voluntary recall for the entire fleet of the Ford F250 pickup truck and Mustang, Lincoln Town Cars and Explorer, and F650 SUV.
Ford also is asking the U in a letter that the government issue a recall in the next three months for its F-Series pickup trucks and Ford F450 SUV.
“Our commitment to this important industry is unwavering and we continue to cooperate with NHTA in their investigation,” Fields said in the letter.
Ford is expected to start selling the vehicles by the end or early next year.
Fields has said the recall will take about six months.
Ford shares have gained about 8% over the past week.
Ford has faced increased pressure from regulators, with both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission issuing subpoenas to the company.
Ford was ordered last week to disclose any new safety defects in the F250, Mustang and Explorer pickups by the U-turning April 5 deadline.
Fields said Monday that Ford had found a new “significant defect” in the tread on the brake cable that was not found in the previous defect.
The issue, Fields said, had “substantially altered the braking ability” of the vehicle, and that Ford would need to “work to identify and correct the issue before we could proceed.”
The agency says Ford failed to follow the company’s safety standards by “exceeding acceptable safety thresholds” and that the automakers “did not implement appropriate and timely preventive measures to address these defects.”
In addition, Fields wrote that the “significant safety defect” that caused the brake failure “caused a loss of traction.”
“The failure to follow Ford’s safety requirements led to the significant loss of steering ability,” Fields added.