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Ford Motor Co. Recalls 220,000 Vehicles From 2005 Model Year

WASHINGTON November 16, 2005; Ken Thomas writinfg for the AP reported that Ford Motor Co. recalled 220,000 vehicles from the 2005 model year Wednesday amid fire worries from a battery cable rubbing against the frame and concern that a fuel tank strap could separate after tens of thousands of miles.

The recall linked to the cable involves more than 98,000 Ford Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis sedans. Ford said in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it has received four reports of fires.

Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said chafing of the cable caused the exposure of wires to the vehicle frame, causing the frame to become electrified in some cases and carry the potential for heat damage or fires.

The affected vehicles were built from March 2004 through February 2005.

A second recall caused by the separation of fuel tank straps involves more than 123,000 Ford Freestyle crossover vehicles, Ford Five Hundred sedans and Mercury Montego vehicles.

The automaker discovered the problem during durability testing of a future model of the Five Hundred at very high mileage.

The company's investigation found that the strap's manufacturer changed to a weaker grade of steel in December 2004 that could not meet Ford's durability requirements. Ford declined to disclose the supplier's identity.

At mileage levels of 100,000 and more, the automaker was concerned the strap would separate and cause the fuel tank to drop. Most 2005 vehicles likely would not have approached those mileage levels yet, but "it's still not a risk that we want to take," Kinley said.

The second recall involved vehicles built from January 2005 through June.

Kinley said there have been no reported injuries in the cases.

Dealers will inspect the vehicles and fix them, if necessary, at no additional cost. Owners will be notified of the recalls in the coming weeks.

Ford Motor Co.: