Updated from 12:29 p.m. EDT
announced Tuesday that it would voluntarily recall hundreds of thousands of its small 2000-model Focus cars for at least one of three safety issues, but the automaker added that the flaws had not been linked to any accidents.
Ford, which is also
recall of 6.5 million tires, said it was notifying car owners about possible problems with rear wheel and break drum assemblies, cruise control cables and interior trim.
The announcement covers virtually all of the 2000 Focus cars produced by Ford, said Mike Vaughn, a company spokesman. Ford had corrected the flaws at the end of July, he said, so the Focus cars manufactured from August on were excluded from the recalls.
"Recalls happen on a periodic basis," Vaughn said. "But we work on identifying the issues quickly, so that customers are not inconvenienced."
First, Ford said it was recalling about 260,390 Focus cars because of problems with the rear hub retaining nut. It said it had received 15 reports of rear wheel and brake drum assemblies separating from cars after the hub retaining nut that secures the rear wheel bearings became loose.
Ford also said it was telling owners of 33,225 Focus cars to have the cruise control cables inspected and possibly replaced. The company acknowledged that it has received 12 reports of the accelerator sticking to the floor because of trouble with the cable, but Vaughn said tapping the brake would solve the problem.
In addition, Ford, which is based in Dearborn, Mich., said it was asking owners of 351,102 Focus cars to have their cars upgraded to satisfy the new
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard
for interior head impact protection. Dealers will install new interior trim panels with better energy-absorbing material, according to Ford.
Ford said it will notify by mail owners of Focus cars affected by the recalls to arrange with their dealers to have free repairs.
Investigators, meanwhile, have linked the 6.5 million Firestone tires, most of which were found on Ford Explorer sport utility vehicles, to more than 100 deaths. Bridgestone/Firestone has said extremely hot weather, heavy loads and low tire inflation pressures contributed to the accidents.
The recalls announced Tuesday did not have much impact on Wall Street. Shares of Ford closed down just 19 cents, or 1%, at $24.44.
The Focus, which hit the U.S. market about a year ago, is one of several small cars produced by Ford. It was in part designed to offer passengers more room and reflect "the increasing average height" of consumers.
"By the year 2000, we expect men will be nearly a half-inch taller and women a quarter-inch taller than they were in 1990," according to a January 1999 press release issued by Ford.