Ford Recalls Millions Of Trucks Over Seat-belt System Fire Hazard

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on September 6th, 2018

Dearborn, Michigan, USA : Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) announced Thursday morning that it is recalling nearly two million of its best-selling F-150 pickups to fix a potential fire hazard. The affected vehicles are model year 2015 through 2018 F-150 regular cab or SuperCrew cab trucks.

When the seatbelt pretensioner in those trucks is deployed during a crash, it could generate sparks and ignite material in the B-pillar (post), including carpeting and insulation. The company has received 17 U.S. complaints and six from Canada of fire or smoke as a result of the problem. Some fires have been localized and go out by themselves while others have spread.

The company said in a statement Thursday that some front-seat pretensioners could create excessive sparks, causing a fire.

Pretensioners use explosive charges to hold seat belts in place during a car crash.

Ford said it has 23 reports of smoke or fire related to seat-belt pretensioners in the U.S. and Canada, but has not received information of any injuries as a result.

The recall will include 2015-18 Ford F-150 Regular Cab and SuperCrew Cab vehicles, resulting in a recall of 1.62 million vehicles in the U.S., 340,000 in Canada, and 37,000 in Mexico.

In its announcement, Ford said it was not aware of any accidents or injuries that resulted from this problem. Approximately 1.62 million U.S. F-150s have been included in the recall, along with nearly 340,000 sold in Canada and almost 37,000 sold in Mexico.

Dealers were notified of the recall on Wednesday and owners will be notified beginning September 24. Owners will be told to take their vehicles to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to have insulation material removed from the B-pillar trim, modify the back interior panel (regular cab only), remove remnants of wiring harness tape in the B-pillar area and apply heat resistant tape to the carpet and its insulation. The work will be done free of charge to the owners.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last month that it was investigating five reports of fires related to the pretensioners. Canadian authorities contacted Ford last November about a fire near a pretensioner on a 2015 model, leading to a joint vehicle inspection, the news service added.

To eliminate the fire risk, Ford will remove some insulation and wire harness tape from the recalled truck’s B pillar areas, which are the vertical supports behind vehicles’ front-seat windows.

The company will also add heat-resistant tape to the carpet and B pillar insulation and modify the back interior panels of Regular Cab Vehicles.

Ford stock traded up about 0.4% shortly after Thursday’s opening bell, at $9.53 in a 52-week range of $9.32 to $13.48. The consensus price target on the stock is $11.00.

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