Ford is recalling nearly 40,000 of Mustang Mach-E battery-electric vehicles because improperly bonded windshields and panoramic glass roofs could come loose while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Mach-E has won numerous awards since its launch late last year, among other things being named North American SUV of the Year. The announcement comes as an embarrassing setback for the all-electric SUV which has been positioned as a serious contender to the Tesla Model Y.
The recall was first revealed by the Detroit Free Press. Spokesman Said Deep told the paper Ford was first made aware of the problem when it received reports of a cracked windshield and problems with the urethane used to seal the glass in place. “When we were made aware, we immediately alerted NHTSA,” he said.
Leaks could signal trouble
The automaker subsequently discovered that vehicles assembled between Feb. 24, 2020 and July 18, 2021 may have had their windshields, as well as optional panoramic roofs improperly bonded to the vehicles.
A total of 38,714 Mustang Mach-E SUVs will be recalled in the U.S. and Europe. Of those, 17,692 will undergo repairs for faulty windshield bonding, while 13,544 will undergo roof glass repairs. Some vehicles will have both fixed under the recall. All of the affected vehicles were produced at the same plant in Cuautitlán Izcalli, Mexico.
Ford said consumers could become aware of the problem if they experience leaks around the windshield or the roof. But federal regulators are concerned that the glass panels could completely separate.
According to the automaker, there have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the problem. But NHTSA warned that if either the windshield or roof glass were to detach while driving motorists could be injured. Loose glass also could strike pedestrians or other vehicles.
The latest setback
The two problems mean Ford now has had to order three separate recalls of the Mach-E. And it has faced additional problems including a software glitch that led to “bricking” by some early models. Some vehicles had their 12-volt batteries drain while charging the SUV’s high-voltage lithium-ion pack. As a result, they would enter a “deep sleep” mode.
Ford was an early pioneer of vehicle electrification with models like the C-Max plug-in hybrid and all-electric Focus EV. But the Mach-E became its first long-range BEV when it went on sale last year. It quickly ran up a list of awards, including “North American SUV of the Year” from a panel of 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists, and “Best EV of the Year” from Car and Driver magazine. It has been warmly received by influential Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as well.
The Mach-E is one of the first models to give chase to Tesla, especially its Model Y SUV. And Ford officials tried to get a leg up on their upstart competitor by pointing to Tesla’s long-running series of quality problems.
After a case where a Model Y’s roof blew off on the highway, Ford’s battery development director Darren Palmer took a shot at Tesla, declaring that the Mach-E’s “doors fit properly, the plastics and other materials color-match, the bumpers don’t fall off, the roof doesn’t come off when you wash it, the door handles don’t get stuck in cold weather.”
Ford has faced a series of launch problems over the years, something that has set back the debut of critical products such as the latest-generation Explorer and the newly revived Bronco. That off-road SUV’s production was temporarily put on hold early this year due to problems with the optional, removable roof. Production recently was restarted.