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Oops- 16,500 Thunderbirds Recalled

DETROIT, June 14 Reuters reported that Ford Motor Co. said on Friday that it was recalling 16,500 of its new Thunderbird convertibles to fix a potential problem with the driver's side seat belt.

The world's No. 2 automaker, plagued by a string of quality snafus since the Firestone tire recall in 2000, said the Thunderbird problem was detected in a 35-mile-per-hour frontal crash test conducted by federal safety regulators.

The driver-side seat belt was found to be partially cut after the crash test, Ford said. It will modify the lower seat trim on the roadsters to keep the driver seat belt from rubbing the mechanism that moves the seat backward and forward.

It said it had received no customer complaints about frayed or partially cut seat belts in the retro-styled 2002 model Thunderbird, which went into production last year.

The recall does not affect vehicles made after April 24, 2002.