CAS published a formal letter to Ford CEO Jim Hackett on Tuesday, in which the watchdog claimed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received at least 1,400 consumer complaints about exhaust leaks with the vehicles.
NHTSA has been investigating the carbon monoxide leak problem in Ford Explorers since July 2016. The Center for Auto Safety originally asked Ford to initiate the recall in October.
Ford initially said it would fix affected vehicles for free, but withdrew the offer after the company claims an internal investigation found no such problem. In a response issued following CAS’ most recent recall attempt, Ford stuck to its guns by reiterating that its own testing had found no problems with the Explorers’ exhaust systems.
“Explorers are safe,” said Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt in a statement. “Ford’s investigation and extensive testing has not found carbon monoxide levels that exceed what people are exposed to every day. The safety of our customers is paramount. We encourage customers with carbon monoxide concerns to bring their vehicle to their local Ford dealer for a free service designed to reduce the concern.”
Ford has separately addressed concerns from police agencies across the U.S., who last year reported at least 2 crashes which may be linked to carbon monoxide exposure, as well as a 3rd incident involving injuries related to carbon monoxide exposure in Explorer-based Police Interceptors.
Ford claims those problems were caused by modifications police agencies made to the vehicles after they left the factory. The automaker has offered to cover the costs to repair those police vehicles.
Source: NBC4 Washington