Ford Motor Company has just issued a recall of roughly 433,000 vehicles in North America, with affected vehicles including the 2015 Ford Focus, C-MAX and Escape. The recall concerns an issue with the listed vehicles’ “body control module,” wherein the engine could continue to run even after the ignition has been turned off and the key has been removed, or after pressing the engine’s start/stop button. 

Currently, Ford is not reporting any accidents or injuries associated with the issue. Customers can take their affected vehicles to a local dealer for a free software update to the faulty module.

The malfunction is non-compliant with FMVSS 114, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s standard regarding theft protection and rollaway prevention. 

Ford says that the recall encompasses 374,781 vehicles in the United States and federalized territories, 52,180 vehicles in Canada and 5,135 vehicles in Mexico.

The affected vehicles include certain 2015 Focus models built at the Michigan Assembly Plant between June 17th, 2014, and June 12th, 2015; certain 2015 C-MAX models built at the Michigan Assembly Plant between April 22nd, 2014, and June 12th, 2015; and certain 2015 Escape models built at the Louisville Assembly Plant between April 1st, 2014, and June 12th, 2015.

This latest recall is the second issued in less than a month for the Escape, with another recall issued only a few weeks ago over issues regarding faulty instrument clusters.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Another week, another recall.

It’s only July, but already we’ve seen a huge number of auto recalls issued in 2015, with the largest and most egregious coming from parts supplier Takata just a few months ago. The Takata recall encompassed nearly 34 million vehicles across a huge swath of brands, making for not only the biggest auto recall in U.S. history, but the biggest single product recall of any kind in U.S. history, trumping the 31 million bottles of Tylenol recalled in 1982.

Last year was the worst year ever for auto recalls in the U.S., with more than 60 million vehicles recalled in just a short 12-month timespan.

The problem? Faulty airbag canisters that, when activated, could rupture, sending metal fragments into the cabin. So far, the faulty airbags have been pinned on at least six deaths and over 100 injuries worldwide.

Compared to the Takata recall, this latest from Ford is small potatoes. Less than half a million vehicles affected and no one’s been killed? No big deal, right?

The fact of the matter is auto recalls are a huge problem these days. Last year was the worst year ever for auto recalls in the U.S., with more than 60 million vehicles recalled in just a short 12-month timespan. Looking at where we are now, 2015 should be the next in line to take that abysmal distinction.

So who’s to blame? That’s a bit trickier. You could pin all these recalls on a number of factors. A higher set of safety standards could be one of them, as could the proliferation of new and barely tested technologies. Cutthroat competition between the automakers is another possibility, with each fighting tooth and nail for sales, sometimes cutting a few too many corners to make a profit and please the shareholders. Maybe it’s all those things.

In the end, most consumers don’t really care who should be blamed. To the average Joe, it’s just one more item to add to the list of things to worry about, and frankly, that list has been far too long for a while now. Hearing about a recall like this prompts most folks to simply shrug their shoulders and wait to see if they get a letter in the mail for that trip to the dealership.

I’d like to propose a different plan of action: Instead of adding it to the list, consumers should demand answers. Why are these recalls so commonplace? What is being done to prevent malfunctioning equipment from being installed in the first place? Who should take responsibility, and what are the consequences? Furthermore, if people talk with their purchasing power, you can bet the top brass will listen. If we demand the highest standards, then maybe we can save more than just another trip to the dealership.

2015 Ford Focus

2015 Ford Focus High Resolution Exterior
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Press Release

Ford Motor Company is issuing a safety compliance recall for approximately 433,000 vehicles in North America, including certain 2015 Focus, C-MAX and Escape vehicles, for an issue with the body control module. In these vehicles, it could be possible for the engine to continue to run after turning the ignition key to the “off” position and removing the key, or after pressing the Engine Start/Stop button. This is a compliance issue with FMVSS 114 regarding theft protection and rollaway prevention.

Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue.

Affected vehicles include certain 2015 Focus vehicles built at Michigan Assembly Plant from June 17, 2014, through June 12, 2015; certain 2015 C-MAX vehicles built at Michigan Assembly Plant from April 22, 2014, through June 12, 2015; and certain 2015 Escape vehicles built at Louisville Assembly Plant from April 1, 2014, through June 12, 2015.

There are 432,096 vehicles in North America, including 374,781 in the United States and federalized territories, 52,180 in Canada and 5,135 in Mexico.

Dealers will update the body control module software at no cost to the customer.

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