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Ford Recalls Focus; Chrysler Recalls Durango

DETROIT February 6, 2005; Reuters reported that Ford Motor Co. is recalling nearly 359,000 of its Focus cars because of a potential problem with their rear door latches, U.S. federal safety regulators said on Sunday.

The recall, announced on the Web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is the second high-profile safety problem the No. 2 U.S. automaker has faced this year.

NHTSA said the problem, involving 358,857 vehicles from the 2000-2002 model years, stemmed from a build-up of corrosion around the rear door latches which can eventually prevent them from ensuring the doors are secure.

"If not latched properly, the door may open while the vehicle is in motion," NHTSA said, warning of potential injuries.

The recall follows an even bigger embarrassment for Ford late last month. On Jan. 27, it was announced that the automaker was recalling about 792,000 top-selling pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and minivans because of possible fire risks from the overheating of their cruise control switches.

Separately, NHTSA said on Sunday the Chrysler arm of DaimlerChrysler AG was recalling about 26,000 of its Dodge Durango SUVs because of potential fuel leaks from the filler necks of their gas tanks.

"Fuel leakage in the presence of an ignition source can result in a fire," the agency said.

Vehicles affected by the recall are from the 2005 model year.

Chrysler announced the recall of about 600,000 Durango SUVs and Dodge Dakota pickup trucks from the 2000-2003 model years in December because of a defect that might cause their wheels to fall off.