Ford is facing two safety issues and dealing with one by fixing the problem and the other by eliminating the source: Takata.
The automaker is recalling about 450,000 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan from the 2010 and 2011 model years due to a fuel tank issue.
Some of the vehicles may have a canister purge valve that does not work correctly. The problem can lead to internal pressure changes that could lead to a crack, leaked fuel and a possibly a fire if that fuel meets an ignition source. Thus far, the maker is unaware of any accidents, injuries or fires due to the problem.
The affected vehicles include Fusions and Milans built at the Ford’s Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico from July 21, 2008, through March 4, 2011. About 411,205 of the vehicles are in the United States. The automaker said dealers will update the powertrain control module software, inspect the canister purge valve and fuel tank for leaks and replace if necessary for free.
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Additionally, Ford is cutting Takata Corp. from its supplier ranks. It’s the fourth automaker to do so, including Japanese makers Honda, Toyota and Nissan. The move comes in spite of the fact that Takata agreed to no longer use ammonium nitrate in its inflators, after Ford and several others makers decided they would stop using inflators powered by ammonium nitrate.
The chemical can deteriorate under prolonged exposure to airborne moisture, causing it to burn too fast and blow apart a metal canister designed to contain the explosion. Takata has forced 11 automakers to recall more than 19 million vehicles because of the problem, which can send metal shrapnel into the cabin of a vehicle.
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The problem has been blamed for at least eight deaths and hundreds of injuries around the globe. The subsequent recall is the largest single action in U.S. history. Ford has recalled more than 1.5 million older Mustangs, Ford GTs and North American-built Ranger pickups to replace the inflators.
Ford’s move is another blow for the Japanese supplier, which still hasn’t determined the cause for the problem. Takata is building replacement kits for the faulty igniters as quickly as possible, as are its competitors; however, it’s likely it will take at least two years to fix all of the affected vehicles in the U.S.
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