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Ford Fusion Could Be Part Of New NHTSA Probe

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On: Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 5:52PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Ford Fusion Could Be Part Of New NHTSA Probe

Complaints are part of our everyday lives, but they don’t often get in the way, that is, unless those complaints are about the cars we drive. When consumer complaints find their way to the inboxes of the staff at the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) then a recall could be right around the corner. Nobody wants to go through that hassle. Ford is bracing for a possible NHTSA complaint review of the Ford Fusion. This is not the kind of news any automaker wants to hear.

Ford has been on a positive run lately. The Detroit automaker turned down government bailout funds and as a result found an expanded customer base willing to give them a second look. Ford managed to deliver the goods with some redesigned vehicles and upgrades. The result? Around 220,000 Fusions were sold last year. That represents a 21% increase for the Fusion, which left the comparable Toyota Camry and Honda Accord in the dust. That’s the good news. Then the complaints surfaced.

Want to know how many complaints it takes to launch an official NHTSA investigation? That would be 4. Four complaints related to fractures in Fusion wheel studs with low mileage are enough to send up the red flags. As everyone who has made a study of wheel studs knows, these are the screws that keep the wheels attached to the car by way of a lug nut. Crack the wheel stud and you could end up driving into the proverbial ditch. Hence, the concern.

A Ford spokesman was quick to step up and toe the company line. “We are aware of the investigation and are fully cooperating with the government as always,” he said.

The NHTSA Office of Defect Investigations released its own statement regarding this Fusion issue. “Three complaint vehicles belong to the same 22-vehicle fleet but were assigned to different drivers who experienced the alleged defect on three separate occasions. All four complaint vehicles had low mileage (between approximately 5,000 and 11,000 miles) and the wheels had never been serviced prior to the alleged incidents.”


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