Ford Door-Latch Issues Expand to Trucks -- Update

By Cara Lombardo Features Dow Jones Newswires

Ford Motor Co. continues to be plagued by faulty vehicle-door latches as the auto maker on Wednesday expanded the lineup of affected models for the second time this year.

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Ford said it would recall roughly 1.3 million F-150 trucks from the 2015 through 2017 model years and F-250 Super Duty trucks from 2017. The company expects the fixes to cost $267 million and will record the charge in its fourth quarter.

Earlier this year, the company recorded a $295 million charge to repair latches in 211,000 vehicles that included Fiesta, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ cars and fix a problem with engines that could result in them catching fire.

Last year, a campaign recalling 830,000 vehicles for similar issues cost $640 million in third-quarter operating profit. Those vehicles included some Focus, Escape SUVs and Mustang models.

Ford said latches used in the recalled trucks can freeze and the springs can bend, causing a door to appear closed when it isn't fully latched. Dealers will install water shields to prevent freezing and repair cables if needed in the affected cars at no cost, the company said.

Ford said it isn't aware of any accidents or injuries related to the recalled cars.

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While the Detroit company doesn't expect the latest recall to affect its full-year per-share earnings guidance of $1.65 to $1.85, it is the latest in a series of costly quality problems in recent years. Faulty door latches have caused problems for Ford since 2015, when it recalled 692,000 small and midsize cars for similar issues.

This week the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit group founded by Ralph Nader, called on Ford to recall more than a million Explorer SUVs to address an alleged risk of carbon-monoxide poisoning after the auto maker offered to repair vehicles to give "peace of mind" to customers. But Ford hasn't resorted to recalls and re-emphasized that its offer wasn't due to safety concerns.

Ford shares were flat in morning trading.

Write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

Ford Motor Co. is recalling 1.3 million late-model pickup trucks in North America to fix faulty door latches, a move expected to shave $267 million from fourth-quarter profit.

The No. 2 U.S. auto maker said it isn't aware of injuries or accidents related to the defective latches, which can cause the door to get stuck or appear closed without being fully latched, risking it swinging open while the truck is moving. The recall covers F-150 trucks from model years 2015 to 2017, as well as 2017 Super Duty trucks.

Dealers will install water shields over the latches to fix the problem, Ford said. Ford's F series pickup-truck line is the company's highest-volume product and its main profit driver.

In a regulatory filing, Ford said the $267 million expense for the fix will be reflected in fourth-quarter earnings. The company also reiterated full-year pretax profit guidance of $1.65 to $1.85 a share. It is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Oct. 26.

The recall is the most recent in a string of quality problems that have hurt Ford's bottom line. The company booked a $295 million charge in the first quarter related to fire risks in some SUVs and vans, and faulty door latches on some car models. In the second quarter, problems with the drive shaft in Transit vans cost $142 million.

Last week, Ford offered a voluntary fix to owners of 1.4 million late-model Explorer SUVs amid complaints about exhaust fumes leaking into the interior. Ford hasn't disclosed a cost estimate for the work, which it described as a complimentary service rather than a safety recall.

Write to Mike Colias at Mike.Colias@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 18, 2017 14:25 ET (18:25 GMT)