Ford Motor Co. settled in June with United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with regards to recall of older Escape models in 2012. The carmaker agreed to pay the maximum $17.35-million fine to resolve claims that it failed to act fast enough to notify owners of a defect in the vehicles. The carmaker recalled around 423,000 Escapes covering model years 2001 to 2004 in the US due to a defect that could cause the gas pedal to remain pressed down even after the driver has depressed it.
The recall covered Escapes with 3.0-liter V6 engines and speed control. According to a settlement document, NHTSA said Ford’s recall action "may have been untimely" and could have justified an enforcement action. The Ford-NHTSA settlement documents also mentioned the Mazda Tribute. In 2012, Mazda recalled 217,000 Tributes from the 2001-2006 and 2008 model years. A Mazda spokesman, however, said that the Japanese carmaker was not involved in the settlement between Ford and NHTSA.
He said that they are unaware of a fine against them, but will work closely with NHTSA. Ford did not admit fault as part of the settlement. Ford spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement to Automotive News that the carmaker is “absolutely committed to addressing potential vehicle issues and responding quickly” for its customers.
She said that Ford safety of its customers seriously and continuously evaluate its processes for improvements. She remarked that they agreed to the settlement in order preclude a lengthy dispute with the US government. Ford paid the $17.35-million fine on July 26, tying the record for largest single fine ever paid under auto safety law in the US.