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Airbag Problems Force Recall of Ford Fiesta

Side bags may not always inflate in crash.

by on Oct.16, 2012

Fiesta faces a recall.

Ford Motor Co. says it will recall 154,000 of its Fiesta subcompacts due to a problem with the vehicle’s airbag system.

The maker has discovered that if the front passenger seat is empty the Fiesta’s side-impact airbags will not deploy in a collision, even if there are passengers in the rear — potentially leading to increased injuries.

The maker says it has received no reports of injuries connected to the problem, however.

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The problem appears to be linked to a mis-programmed “smart” safety system designed to stop the front passenger airbag from deploying if that seat is empty. Ford plans to advise owners to return to a dealer service facility where the software controlling the airbags can be reprogrammed.

Repairs will be made at no charge, according to the company.

The recall covers Mexican-made Ford Fiestas produced between November 3, 2009 and September 21, 2012.

Ford’s announcement is the latest in a seemingly accelerating string of recalls that appear to be on track to approach or exceed recent records.  Some of the largest recent recalls have involved Japanese makers Toyota – which called back 2.5 million vehicles in the U.S. due to a fire risk last week – and Honda – which staged three separate recalls the week before that involving 1.7 million vehicles.

But it seems like no manufacturer has been escaping an apparent crackdown on safety-related issues. This week’s recall list includes luxury sports car makers Aston Martin and Lotus. The latter is targeting just 80 of its Evora S models due to a problem that could cause oil to leak and possibly catch fire.

(For more on Lotus’s latest issues, Click Here.)

Industry experts contend that this year’s increased recall activity doesn’t actually suggest a decline in quality but rather the increased vigilance of both manufacturers and regulators following the embarrassing safety scandal that snagged Toyota in 2009 and 2010. Federal regulators were chastised during Congressional hearings for backing down on some possible safety issues and subsequently vowed to be less tolerant of safety problems in the future.

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