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WASHINGTON — Ford Motor Co. overruled its own safety engineers’ recommendation to recall up to 4.1 million pickups and sport utility vehicles that were found to have substandard door latches, according to internal company documents that have surfaced in recent court cases.

A Ford safety engineering team determined in March 2000 that door latches on certain 1997-2000 model light trucks — including popular F-150, F-250, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator models — didn’t meet federal safety standards, the documents show.

Ford ordered immediate design changes for future vehicles. But the automaker decided against a recall — which could have cost up to $527 million — after the company determined the latches could pass a rarely used alternative compliance test.

The decision could haunt Ford, which now faces a slew of product liability lawsuits stemming from fatal accidents where vehicle doors flew open and plaintiffs’ lawyers are blaming latch failure.

Federal safety officials, meanwhile, are reviewing allegations that Ford skirted federal laws by failing to recall the 4.1 million vehicles and alert the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the latch issue.

Ford maintains the door latches are safe and in compliance with federal laws.

“Ford’s extensive crash testing of the F-Series truck demonstrates that the doors remain closed during a variety of crashes,” said Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes.

“Compliance to (federal safety standards), crash testing, and real-world data from years of on-road experience show the vehicles, including the door latches, to be safe.”

Lawyers suing Ford say the company’s internal documents paint a detailed picture of an automaker failing to address a safety issue because of financial concerns

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uh-oh
 
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Yea, I owned a 2000 Ford Focus ZX3 and also had problems with the ignition key assembly. Like the key wouldn't go in the ignition.

It's kind of funny actually, because I had a problem with the latch for the rear hatch on the ZX3 not functioning properly. I got that fixed, under warranty, and literally the next day after getting it back I was leaving for work and the key wouldn't go in the ignition. Kind of funny actually. It was repaired under warranty, but still. Strong car, otherwise.

I WOULD own another Ford. Actually I'm thinking of getting a used F-250, preferably diesel. Anybody got any info on those?

Later... ;)
 

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Seems this happened during the dark age of recalls for Ford, around the time of the roll-over fiasco (which I think was largely blown out of propotion by the media). It should be noted that this kind of behavior doesn't happen anymore, because Nasser is long gone, and they have fixed the problem with all new vehicles. Still, it's not good press for the company to have these old skeletons come out to haunt them.
 

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Originally posted by awalbert88@May 3 2004, 11:24 AM
Seems this happened during the dark age of recalls for Ford, around the time of the roll-over fiasco (which I think was largely blown out of propotion by the media). It should be noted that this kind of behavior doesn't happen anymore, because Nasser is long gone, and they have fixed the problem with all new vehicles. Still, it's not good press for the company to have these old skeletons come out to haunt them.
Yeah, and Pintos never caught fire, either.
 
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