Ford Recalls 2002 Explorers : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Sunday, May 20, 2001

Ford recalls 2002 Explorers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. is recalling 50,000 brand new Explorers because an assembly line conveyor belt that was too narrow for the wider 2002 model may have cut the tire tread.

It's the second recall of a three-month-old redesigned model that was scrutinized to prevent such problems after last year's Firestone tire recall.

The recall includes 50,000 four-door Explorers built at Ford's plant in Louisville, Ky. When the sport utility vehicles were loaded too far to the right on the conveyor belt, it left cuts 13 to 23 centimetres long and one centimetre deep in one or both of the right tire treads.

It was not immediately known if the recall affects Ford Explorers sold in Canada.

A Ford official speaking on a condition of anonymity Sunday described the cuts as cosmetic and said they do not affect tire performance. The company has no reports of accidents or injuries because of the problem, the official said.

The SUV is also made at a St. Louis plant, but it had a different conveyor system that could accommodate the five-centimetre wider models. Ford has widened its conveyor belt in Louisville by seven centimetres.

The automaker began shipping the SUVs in mid-February and many may still be on dealer lots.

Ford plans to send a letter to all owners by the end of May and will check and replace damage tires for free at its dealerships.

The tires are Goodyear and Michelin brands. Ford stopped putting Firestone tires on all its Explorers last year after Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s recall of 6.5 million tires.

At least 174 people have been killed and more than 700 injured when Firestone tires lost their tread or had other failures.

Ford spent months scouring new Explorers for any defects before putting them on sale, hoping to move beyond the recall and avoid repeats of recent, recall-troubled launches of the automaker's Focus subcompact and small SUV, the Escape.

In April, Ford had its dealers pick up 56,652 new Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers because the rear liftgate windows could break when shut.

The Explorer has been the country's top-selling SUV for 11 years, with a record 445,157 of them sold last year despite bad publicity over the tire recall.

-- Rachel Gibson (, May 21, 2001

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