Ford Recalls 490,000 Minivans, SUVs in U.S. for Safety Flaws

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. is recalling about 490,000 vehicles to fix defects that can cause fires or loss of power.

The action covers 205,896 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans and 244,530 Ford Escape sport-utility vehicles in the U.S. and about 40,000 Escapes in other countries, according to statements on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website and from Dan Pierce, a Ford spokesman.

"Ford is committed to top quality and responding quickly for our customers concerning any safety issues," Pierce said.

The Escape recall follows another in 2007 during which Ford, based in Dearborn, Michigan, said some of the vehicles may not have been properly repaired. The minivan recalls followed an investigation by the U.S. auto-safety regulator.

The 2001 and 2002 model Escape SUVs may have brake-fluid leaks from the caps of their brake master cylinder reservoirs, leading to corrosion that may cause fire, according to the company.

"Ford has received a few reports of property damage beyond vehicle-only damage as a result of alleged vehicle fires," Pierce said of the Escape recall. The company isn't aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the leaks, he said.

Ford is recalling 2004 and 2005 model Freestar and Monterey minivans because the torque converter output shafts in their power trains may fail and cause sudden loss of power.

Two "minor" accidents are have alleged to have resulted over eight years, with "minor" injuries in one and no injuries in the other, Pierce said of the Freestar and Monterey recall.