In a letter to Ford CEO Jim Hackett, a Washington-based non-profit auto safety group, The Center for Auto Safety, repeated its call for Ford Motor Company to recall 1.35 million Explorer SUVs between model years 2011 and 2017 because of continued complaints about exhaust fumes seeping inside the vehicles on the passenger side.
In the letter, Jason Levine, the Center’s executive director wrote, "With all due respect to the efforts undertaken by Ford, and NHTSA, over these last two years, the continued complaints and corresponding reports of incidents and injuries demonstrate the problem of carbon monoxide exposure inside Ford Explorers has not been resolved. We urge you, on behalf of Ford's customers, and everyone with whom they share the road, to act before tragedy strikes."
The letter comes on the second anniversary of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) opening of an investigation into the problem. It has been investigating both police and civilian Explorers, but has not yet reached a final conclusion. Federal regulators have said they are aware of more than 2,700 complaints, three crashes and 41 injuries that may be linked to exposure to carbon monoxide among police and civilian 2011-2017 Explorer vehicles.
The Center said it found 44 complaints in a government database about fumes and potential carbon monoxide leakage after owners had taken their Explorers in for free repairs in a Ford customer service campaign that started last October. Customer complaints include headaches, dizziness and loss of consciousness. No deaths have been reported.
In his letter, Levine also said, "It is easy to imagine a roadside crash caused by carbon monoxide exposure resulted in a fatality but was written off as ‘drowsy driving,’ It is possible that Ford and Ford’s customers have just been lucky up until this point, but the time for Ford to take more serious action is now, before that luck runs out.”
Ford says the Explorers are safe, and that owner complaints have decreased and its service campaign, which reprogrammed air conditioners, replaced lift gate drain valves and inspected the sealing on the rear of the vehicle, has addressed the issue. They also said that an internal investigation had not found carbon monoxide levels exceeding what people are exposed to every day.
Ford says anyone who isn't satisfied should contact their dealership for further inspection. They have also set up a dedicated hotline for the issue at 888-260-5575.
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Group Matrix Blog – July 16, 2018 – by Sharon Bowles