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Ford is expanding its previously announced F-150 recall from 144,000 to 1.2 million trucks including F-150s manufactured from 2004-2006 and Lincoln Mark LT pickup trucks manufactured in 2006. NHTSA reports that “If the clockspring jumper wire comes in contact with the driver side frontal air bag lower horn plate, the wire insulation may become chafed, creating a potential short circuit…” This can cause a spontaneous and unexpected airbag deployment.

There have been hundreds of reports of inadvertent airbag deployments resulting in bruises, cuts and even two drivers claiming to have been knocked unconscious. Despite this, Ford resisted recalling the additional vehicles, claiming the defect didn’t "present an unreasonable risk to vehicle safety", but finally caved to regulators’ demands. A Ford spokesman said, “We understand the government’s desire to reach a broad group of potentially affected consumers and will recall the remaining population of trucks for our customers’ peace of mind.”

In an April 11 letter to NHTSA, Ford stated “after continuing discussions with the agency and to reassure customers of Ford’s commitment to safety and to eliminate any possible customer confusion, Ford is voluntarily recalling this remaining population of vehicles.”

The New York Times reports that Ford made a change to the airbag wiring in 2006, but did not admit there was a safety defect.

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison

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