Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press
Published 10:34 a.m. ET May 15, 2019 | Updated 11:28 a.m. ET May 15, 2019
Ford’s new midsize pickup boasts a long list of features, 7,500-pound towing capacity and up to 26 mpg on the highway.
Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press Auto Critic
Drivers of the new Ranger midsize pickup truck, along with owners of the 2013-16 Fusion sedan, may think their vehicle is safely in the “park” position when it is not and may roll unexpectedly.
Consumers have reported property damage and an injury related to the Fusion defect, Ford said.
The company Wednesday issued a recall for about 270,000 Fusions and 2,760 Rangers in North America.
On some affected Rangers, the two fasteners that secure the transmission shift cable bracket to the transmission housing may not have been torqued to specification, the company said. Over time, the cable bracket can loosen and the transmission would be in a different gear than the gearshift selected by the driver.
“This condition could allow the driver to remove the ignition key (if equipped) with no instrument panel warning message or chime indicating that the transmission is not in park. This could allow unintended vehicle movement or roll away if the parking brake is not applied, increasing the risk of a crash or injury,” Ford said in a statement.
The Dearborn-based automaker is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition at this time.
Approximately 2,500 Rangers in the U.S. and its territories and some 260 in Canada are affected. They were built at the Michigan Assembly Plant from March 5-13, 2019, Ford said.
Ranger owners are urged to go to dealers so that the vehicles will adjust the fasteners and verify everything is safe. Drivers are urged to use the parking brake at all times until the recall has been done. The recall reference number is 19S15.
“A recall on an all-new vehicle isn’t uncommon,” said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book. “It’s happened in the last 12 months on multiple new cars or SUVs, including models from Europe and Asia. This Ranger recall is fairly straightforward and should be easy to fix and verify. The challenging part of this recall, like all vehicle recalls, is getting the information to affected owners and having them respond in a timely manner.”
Ford also issued a safety alert for its 2013-16 Fusion midsize sedans with 2.5-liter engines for similar problems.
Fusion drivers may shift their lever into park and remove the ignition key but the transmission is actually not in park, with no warning message or audible chime, Ford said in its recall alert. If the parking brake is not applied, a shift cable that detaches from the transmission could allow the car to roll, increasing the risk of injury or crash, Ford said.
The problem? Bushing that attaches the shifter cable may degrade and detach from the transmission.
Ford is aware of three reports of property damage and one report of an injury potentially related to this condition.
The Fusion recall impacts approximately 270,000 vehicles in North America, including 259,182 in the U.S. and its territories,10,282 in Canada and 3,765 in Mexico.
The Fusions affected were built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant from April 12, 2013-Feb. 29, 2016, and at the Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico from Feb. 9, 2012-April 4, 2016.
The root cause is in the process of being confirmed, Ford said. Dealers and Fusion owners will be instructed to always use the parking brake, and they will be notified when the final remedy is available, the company said. The Ford reference number for this recall is 19S16.
Industry analysts said few consumers will pay attention to the latest alert or others in the future.
“Recalls are such a common occurrence these days that the public has largely grown immune to them,” said John McElroy, longtime industry observer and host of “Autoline After Hours.”
“Many people ignore recall notices, even ones that involve safety hazards. Millions of car owners have ignored the Takata airbag recall, even though it essentially involves a hand grenade that could go off in their face,” he said. “Ford’s latest recall will not even achieve 15 minutes of fame.”
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