A WSJ.COM News Roundup
DEARBORN, Mich. -- Ford Motor Co. said it is recalling about 351,000 of
its Focus vehicles.
Ford, which is struggling to contain damage to
its reputation from the Firestone tire debacle,
said it hasn't received any reports of accidents
resulting from the recalled conditions, which
involve a rear hub retaining nut, a cruise-control
cable and an interior trim panel beside the windshield.
The voluntary safety recalls are the latest setback for the world's No.
auto maker, which has faced harsh questions from regulators,
consumers and members of Congress over its handling of safety
concerns surrounding its popular Explorer sport-utility vehicle and
Firestone tires used on the SUV.
Bridgestone/Firestone Inc., a unit of Japan's Bridgestone Corp., has
recalled 6.5 million Firestone tires, many of them installed on the
Explorer, amid charges that sudden tread separations caused accidents
linked to more than 140 deaths in the U.S. and overseas. Ford is trying
to help complete the recall months earlier than expected, by the end of
November, to put the furor to rest.
But Ford's safety practices drew attention again last week when, in a
highly unusual move, a California state judge ordered the company to
recall 1.7 million Ford cars and trucks. Alameda County Superior Court
Judge Michael Ballachey said that Ford had known for nearly two
decades that vehicles were prone to stalling because of "flawed" ignition
modules, but failed to cooperate with federal safety regulators or alert
In Tuesday's statement, Ford said it will notify about 260,390 owners of
the 2000 Focus of a recall involving the rear hub retaining nut. Ford said
it received 15 reports of rear wheel and brake drum assemblies
separating from vehicles because of the retaining nut. Owners will have
their assemblies inspected and repaired as necessary.
Ford is also notifying about 33,225 owners of the 2000 Focus to have
their dealer inspect their cars' cruise-control cables. The company
received 12 reports of the car's throttle sticking open following
"wide-open throttle application."
In addition, the company will notify 351,102 Focus owners to have their
vehicle upgraded to meet federal safety standards for interior head
impact protection. Dealers will replace the interior trim panels beside the
windshield with a panel containing improved energy-absorbing material.