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Ford Recalls 279,646 Focus Compact Cars

DETROIT Reuters reports that Ford Motor recalling 279,646 of its 2000 and 2001 model year Focus compacts because of a problem that could cause the rear wheels to wobble.

Ford spokesman Mike Vaughn said the potential problem stemmed from corrosion caused by road salt used to melt snow and ice on roads in winter. The recall covers 21 U.S. states and six Canadian provinces.

Because of the salt, the rear wheel seal on the cars may experience surface corrosion, Vaughn said, adding that this could ultimately cause damage to the wheel bearing. If not repaired, the condition could result in a wobbling of the rear wheels.

He added that no accidents or injuries had been reported because of damage to the Focus wheel bearings.

``We don't consider this a safety issue,'' he said.

Vaughn said affected customers would receive letters by mid-December instructing them to return their cars to dealers for an inspection and the installation of a drum or disk bearing kit.

Ford, which is suffering its worst financial crisis in nearly a decade, has been hit by a string of embarrassing and costly quality glitches over the past two years. The 2000 model Focus alone has been recalled seven times for safety problems since it was introduced in mid-1999.