DETROIT, July 23 Ford Motor Co, which
recalled about 11,500 Escape sport utility vehicles last week
because of a fire risk, is pointing to a manufacturing flaw in
fuel lines supplied by part maker TI Automotive for the problem.
Some of the fuel lines were "mechanically scored" at TI
Automotive's plant in Ashley, Indiana, according to documents
Ford filed Friday with the National Highway Traffic Safety
A fuel line with a cut on the surface could split open and
leak, according to the documents. The problem forced Ford to
take the rare step of telling owners to stop driving their 2013
model Escapes with a 1.6-liter engine.
A spokeswoman for TI Automotive did not immediately respond
to an email seeking comment.
The affected vehicles were made at Ford's Louisville
Assembly Plant from Oct. 8, 2011 to July 11. TI Automotive has
repaired the manufacturing flaw and is still making fuel lines
for the 2013 Escape, Ford spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said.
The No. 2 U.S. automaker announced the recall on Thursday of
last week and NHTSA posted the additional documents Friday.
About 4,800 Escape SUVs were sold to customers in the United
States and Canada, while the rest are on dealer lots.
Production of the Escape was not halted as a result of the
recall. The Escape, which was completely overhauled for the 2013
model year, is one of two crucial launches for Ford this year,
along with the redesigned 2013 Fusion mid-size sedan.
Escape models with 2.0- and 2.5-liter engines were not
affected by the recall and driving recommendation. About 10
percent of the 2013 Escapes sold have 2.5-liter engines. The
remaining sales are evenly split between the 1.6- and 2.0-liter
engines, Ford said.
Dealers will transport customers' 2013 Escapes to the
dealership for necessary repairs and provide a loaner vehicle.
Ford will pay dealers up to $660 per vehicle to defray
transportation, rental and other costs, according to the
On June 9, "an underhood fire was observed" after a Ford
employee drove an Escape from Ford's Louisville plant to its
nearby Kentucky Truck Plant, according to the documents.
Ford investigated the issue and determined that it was a
unique case, Zwiebel said.
On June 18, an Escape owner in Canada reported an engine
fire, which Ford was examining when another employee driving
from Louisville "experienced a fire" on July 11, the documents
said. There have been no injuries due to the problem.