Ford Minivan Doors May Open While Driving

DETROIT March 8, 2004; Sharon Silke Carty writing for Dow Jones reported that The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is investigating 56 complaints into Ford Motor Co. 's 1999-2002 Windstar minivans, alleging the sliding doors open when ascending hills.

The Office of Defects Investigation has opened a preliminary investigation into the complaints, and Ford has issued numerous technical service bulletins concerning power sliding door issues. The most recent was issued on Sept. 16, 2002.

NHTSA said drivers complained that the "door ajar" light would come on, and sometimes the power sliding door would open completely while the minivan is ascending a hill, making turns or traveling over rough roads.

NHTSA said there are an estimated 761,368 of these minivans on the road that may have this problem. The agency opened the investigation March 3, and will wait to hear from Ford before deciding to upgrade the investigation. No injuries or fatalities have been associated with the problem.

Ford spokesman Glenn Ray said the automaker is conducting its own internal engineering analysis on the issue, but said Ford hasn't received any reports of injuries or accidents related to the complaints. He said the automaker is cooperating with NHTSA.

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