Jump to content

Ford declined recall over door latches

Guest Repo

Recommended Posts

Guest Repo

Ford declined recall over door latches, law papers show

The Associated Press


DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford Motor Co. overruled its safety engineers' recommendations to recall up to 4.1 million pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles that had substandard door latches, court documents showed.

A Ford safety engineering team determined in March 2000 that latches on certain 1997-2000 light trucks didn't meet federal safety standards.

The trucks include the popular F-150, F-250, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator models, according to internal Ford memos made public during court cases.

After the recommendations, Ford ordered immediate design changes for future vehicles.

But the automaker decided against a recall that could have cost up to $527 million.

The company determined instead that the latches could pass a rarely used alternative compliance test, The Detroit News reported Sunday.

At least 16 product-liability lawsuits filed against the automaker claim latch failures led to fatal accidents involving doors that flew open.

Federal safety officials are reviewing allegations that Ford skirted federal laws by failing to recall the vehicles and alert the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the latch issue.

Ford said the latches are safe and comply with federal laws.

"Ford's extensive crash testing of the F-series truck demonstrates that the doors remain closed during a variety of crashes," Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said. "Compliance to (federal safety standards), crash testing, and real-world data from years of on-road experience show the vehicles, including the door latches, to be safe."

Lawyers for those suing Ford contend the alternative test is not accepted by the federal highway safety agency.

The lawyers said the Ford documents show an automaker failed to address a safety issue because of financial concerns.

"It's clear to me that Ford realized the product was dangerous and should be recalled," lawyer Jeff Wigington said.

The internal documents, produced by Ford under court order, emerged in court cases involving deaths and injuries in crashes after vehicle doors had flown open.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...