Ford Agrees To Pay Feds $17.35 Million in Recall Settlement


  • 2004 Ford Escape Picture

    2004 Ford Escape Picture

    Ford has paid the federal government $17.35 million in a settlement over whether it took too long to recall the 2001-'04 Ford Escape. | August 01, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Ford has paid the federal government $17.35 million in a settlement over whether it took too long to recall the 2001-'04 Ford Escape over a defect that could cause unintended acceleration.
  • "Ford agreed to this settlement to avoid a lengthy dispute with the government," the company said in a statement.
  • "NHTSA is sending a loud message with the substantial fine being charged to Ford," said Michelle Krebs, an Edmunds senior analyst.

WASHINGTON — Ford has paid the federal government $17.35 million in a settlement over whether it took too long to recall the 2001-'04 Ford Escape over a defect that could cause unintended acceleration.

"We are absolutely committed to addressing potential vehicle issues and responding quickly for our customers," said Ford in a statement released on Thursday. "We take the safety of our customers seriously and continuously evaluate our processes for improvements. While we are confident in our current processes for quickly identifying and addressing potential vehicle issues, Ford agreed to this settlement to avoid a lengthy dispute with the government."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a posting on its Web site that Ford agreed to the settlement on June 28 and paid the fine on July 26. NHTSA described the reason for the penalty as an "untimely recall in 2012 for stuck throttle when accelerator pedal is fully or almost fully depressed."

For more information on the settlement, please see the NHTSA Web site.

"NHTSA is sending a loud message with the substantial fine being charged to Ford - an amount that matches the previous record-setting amount paid by Toyota - that it will not tolerate foot-dragging when it comes to recalls that could cause harm to consumers," said Michelle Krebs, an Edmunds senior analyst.

The penalty is the result of what NHTSA says is a delayed recall of 484,600 2001-'04 Ford Escapes equipped with 3.0-liter V6 engines and cruise control. Ford recalled the vehicles in July 2012 for "potential interference between the engine cover and the speed control cable connector." NHTSA says Ford knew about the problem earlier and should have recalled the Escapes in May 2011.

"If consumers have one of these vehicles and they haven't had the recall done, please contact a Ford dealership and get it done," said Kelli Felker, a Ford spokeswoman in a phone conversation with Edmunds.

Edmunds says: A consumer who owns one of the affected Ford Escapes should be certain the 2012 recall work has been done.

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