Yet Another Rollaway Recall: Ford Calls Back 550,000 Vehicles for Driverless Journeys

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
yet another rollaway recall ford calls back 550 000 vehicles for driverless journeys

Automatic transmissions that shift into park but don’t actually end up in park are one of the greatest automotive sourges of our time. Of all automakers, Fiat Chrysler and Ford seem to have the worst luck with this.

On Wednesday, Ford Motor Company announced a recall of roughly 550,000 Fusions and Escapes to prevent the vehicles from getting loose, though some wonder why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn’t step in earlier to force the recall.

The affected models are 2013-2016 Fusions and 2013-2014 Escapes built at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant and Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant.

According to Ford, the bushing that connects the shift cable to the transmission can fail, leading to a sudden discrepancy between the gear you’ve just selected and the gear the vehicle is actually in. The potential consequences are fairly obvious.

The recall covers some 549,401 vehicles in North America, of which 504,182 were sold in the United States and federalized territories, 36,887 in Canada, and 8,332 in Mexico.

While Ford says no accidents or injuries stem from this problem, a report in Forbes points to years of complaints and several injuries. The publication uncovered 30 similar incidents involving the affected models,including one in 2014 where a woman was spun around by her vehicle’s door as it rolled away from her as she was exiting. The woman, whose foot was run over, claims she had placed the vehicle in park. All told, the incidents resulted in three injuries.

Why the NHTSA didn’t initiate an investigation isn’t known. Ford claims it became aware of the problem via “normal processes,” including field data.

While the affected Fusions came equipped with a regular gearshift lever, subsequent Fusions arrived with a potentially confusing rotary dial shifter that led to rollaway incidents when fielded by other automakers. Ford’s design, however, incorporated a “Return to Park” safety feature that activates whenever the engine is turned off while the vehicle isn’t in park.

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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Jul 19, 2018

    "According to Ford, the bushing that connects the shift cable to the transmission can fail, leading to a sudden discrepancy between the gear you’ve just selected and the gear the vehicle is actually in. The potential consequences are fairly obvious." Hmmmmm... a bushing. Made in China?

  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Jul 19, 2018

    Ford has a systemic QC crisis on its hands. This is backed up by credible statistical compilation. There are, and this is not an exaggerated claim, at least 12 people (more likely it’s’as high as 18-20) that I’ve told not to purchase or lease Ford or Lincoln vehicles over the last 10’years or so, up to the past 6 months. All but maybe 3 of them that did have had more problems with their Ford or Lincolns than any vehicles they’ve ever owned, hand serious problems at that. They’ve also cursed their dealerships and Ford/Lincoln corporate, for being awful in terms of a complete lack of professionalism and customer service. None of these people purchased the F-Series. It’s not like pickup truck buyers to solicit buying advice, and they are the most brand-loyal demographic of all. Ford makes hot garbage, and it’s a systemic, process-wide issue now with their in-house facilities and in terms of their suppliers. They have a true, real reliability crisis on their hands, and their dealerships and Ford corporate do little to assuage the pain.

  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).