FORD ANNOUNCES SAFETY RECALL TO INSPECT SEAT BELT BUCKLES ON CERTAIN 2001 MODEL YEAR VEHICLES |
DEARBORN, Mich., July 13, 2001 - Ford Motor Company is announcing a
voluntary safety recall of 1.4 million model year 2001 cars and trucks
to inspect the front driver-side and front passenger-side seat belt
buckles. The front center and all rear seating position seat belt
buckles are not affected.
Due to outside supplier manufacturing issues, a small percentage of
these seat belt buckles may not latch properly if insufficient force is
applied when inserting the tongue into the buckle. If the seat belt
release button does not return to its full up position upon latching,
the buckle may not be fully latched.
"We estimate a defect rate among the recall population of less than
five percent," said Ann O'Neill, director, vehicle service and programs,
Ford Customer Service Division. "But even if a vehicle was to have a
defective buckle, the potential for any safety issue is extremely small.
Our testing indicates that even among defective buckles, customers can
help assure a proper latching of their seat belt if they push the tongue
quickly and forcefully into the buckle, and then pull on it to help
ensure the seat belt is securely latched.
The recall affects the 2001 Ford Crown Victoria, Windstar, Ranger,
F-Series, Excursion and Expedition; the Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln
Town Car and Navigator; and the Mazda B-Series truck, all built from
the beginning of the 2001 model year through May 26, 2001. Other model
years and vehicle lines are not affected, because these vehicles utilize
a different buckle.
Owners affected by the recall will be notified via first-class mail
to return the vehicle to a Ford, Lincoln Mercury or Mazda dealer to have
the seat belt buckle operation tested. Buckles identified as potentially
defective will be replaced. Testing, and any resulting seat belt buckle
replacement, will be completed at no charge.