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Ford (NYSE:F) did well in August, selling 28,188 Escape utility vehicles, a 37 percent increase versus a year ago. This was spelling good news America’s second largest automaker, until an Escape caught fire on a dealer lot in Tennessee.
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Ford is now issuing its third recall of the Escape, citing an improperly installed component called a cup plug. The concern is that a loose or dislodged cup plug would spill engine coolant which may catch fire when coming in contact with hot engine components. This is the second recall related to a fire risk. The first recall in July involved a carpeting flaw which could cause breaking problems. Ford spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said that the cup plug defect is not related to the other recalls.
About 7,600 1.6-liter engine Escapes are affected by the recall, 6,150 in the United States and 1,300 in Canada. So far, no customer vehicles have caught fire. Zwiebel said the plugs were installed at a plant in England where the automated systems were having problems, so the parts had to be installed by hand, which is what caused the error.
A growing list of recalls and safety concerns may start making a dent in Escape’s strong sales numbers.
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