The federal government and regulators at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are both looking at Ford. The auto manufacturer recalled 620,000 2020 model year vehicles in the U.S. (over 700,000 total worldwide) to fix faulty rear-view cameras used for backing up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now investigating the apparent lag time in addressing a known problem and whether Ford should have recalled even more vehicles. Ford says that it is cooperating with the investigations.
A known issue
Ford initiated the recall on September 23, 2020, for multiple Ford and Lincoln models: the F-Series pickup, which is the top-selling vehicle in the country, as well as Mustang, transit vans, Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer and Ranger. The reason was that the backup display camera might show a distorted or blank image. However, the manufacturer became aware of the issue in February of 2020.
Rather than take action at that time, Ford opted to monitor the warranty claims. It then moved the issue to an internal Ford safety committee in May of that year. The company also discussed the problem of high failure rates on some models at an August meeting with the NHTSA but did not do a recall at that time.
The slow pace could be costly
Not only does the manufacturer need to replace more than 700,000, but there could also be instances where the malfunction led to injury or property damage. It also remains to be seen whether Ford’s fix for this issue is a long-term solution. We will continue to follow this story as it unfolds.