Ford to Recall Focus Cars for Safety Flaws; Says It Has Received No Accident Reports
                    October 17, 2000

                    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. 2
                    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.