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Ford not budging on airbag recall expansion

by Drew Johnson

Despite heavy pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford has made no movement on expanding an earlier F-150 recall.

Despite previous reports claiming the federal government and Ford were nearing an agreement to recall as many as 1.3 million F-150 pickup truck models due to an airbag issue, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Wednesday that the two sides are still far from a deal.

The disagreement stems from a February recall. Ford issued a recall for 135,000 F-150 pickup trucks after the government received several complaints of airbags deploying without warning. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received several more airbags complaints and is pushing for the recall of as many as 1.3 million trucks.

"Ford took great action and recalled about 135,000 vehicles. Our folks think that we would like to see something larger than that, and we're in talks right now," NHTSA chief David Strickland said.

Although an obvious safety issue - the NHTSA has received 269 compliant, 98 of which resulted in injuries ranging from chipped teeth to broken arms - Ford maintains it has adequately addressed the issue. Ford's original recall was for vehicles made at its Norfolk, Virginia plant, which the automaker claims had the highest airbag failure rate.

The NHTSA has warned it could convene a formal public hearing if Ford does not voluntarily issue an extended recall.

The recall would cover F-150 models produced from 2004-06.


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