Ford is facing further problems with its 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine, the powertrain behind its latest recall. Nearly 90,000 Ford Escape and Fusion models sold in the U.S. were recalled late last week because of potential engine fire problems. But the problem could exist in other markets, as well.
The turbocharged engine is used in a wide range of products in Europe, small powertrains popular in a market where fuel prices can run as high as $9 a gallon. It is unclear if the problem in Europe is the same as what forced the U.S. recall – or one of several other recalls that have involved the new Escape, which was introduced earlier this year.
According to Ford, it has received reports of seven fires in European vehicles using the 1.6-liter EcoBoost powertrain. That has led the maker to launch an investigation into potential powertrain problems outside the U.S., a company spokesman noted.
Models that could be affected include the European Focus and Mondeo sedans, the Galaxy minivan and the Kuga, the nameplate used for the Escape outside the U.S. Mondeo is the European name for the Fusion.
Ford says it still doesn’t have a complete understanding of what the problem is with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost, though it believes that coolant fluids may leak out if the engine overheats. They may, in turn, catch fire if they come into contact with hot exhaust components.
That would be the second fire problem involving leaking coolant. Ford ordered an earlier recall of the new Escape crossover because a defective plug could leak fluid and cause a fire. In fact, the new CUV has now been recalled four times — three for potential overheating or fire problems.
Since Ford has not fully identified the latest problem, owners of the Fusion and Escape models involved in the U.S. recall can contact dealers for free loaners until the issue can be dealt with and repairs made – at no charge to consumers.
It remains to be seen if the Detroit maker will take similar steps in Europe.
The U.S. recall involves only Ford Fusion and Escape models equipped with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost.
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