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Ford Recalls 1.3M Taurus And Sable Sedans

DETROIT March 10, 2004; Sharon Silke Carty writing for Dow Jones reported that Ford Motor Co. has recalled 1.3 million Taurus and Sable sedans to fix problems in the vehicles' brake lights and air filters.

A database at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows the recall was initiated on March 1.

Some of the company's 2003 model Taurus and Sables have air filter problems that can lead to fires, NHTSA said. And the 2000-2003 model year sedans also have an issue with the brake lights, which can make it difficult to shift the car out of park.

Ford spokesman Glenn Ray said about 118,000 of the sedans involved in the two recalls have both problems in their cars. Those drivers will be able to have both issues fixed at the same time.

The recall is being enacted voluntarily by Ford.

"The safety of our customers is a top priority at Ford Motor Company," Ray said in a statement. "We are taking this action to maintain the quality and integrity of this product."

The brake issue has come up in these cars before. In 2001, Ford recalled 157, 000 Taurus and Sable sedans to correct the problem. NHTSA said the problem was caused by grease from the pedal assembly coming in contact with the stop lamp switch, contaminating the contacts and causing carbon buildup.

About 938,800 Taurus and Sables are affected by the braking problem. The cars were built at the Atlanta and Chicago assembly plants.

The air filter problem affects nearly 400,000 cars. Ford said the process used to manufacture the air filter paper was altered during the 2003 model year, resulting in paper that can smolder or burn. The problem can cause engine fires.

The automaker didn't issue press releases on the problems, relying on dealer and owner notification letters to spread the word. Ray said the company decided against issuing a press release at the time of the recall.