The affected Ford Transit vehicles were built in the Michigan-based company’s Kansas City assembly plant from January 17, 2014 to June 15, 2017. Ford reported its October sales were down thirty percent from the same month past year, and General Motors reported a forty-five percent decline for October.
Ford is issuing a safety recall for approximately 400,000 2015-17 Ford Transit van/bus vehicles with medium, long and extended wheelbases and chassis cab/cutaways with medium wheelbases to replace the driveshaft flexible coupling. The defect can cause the driveshaft to separate, resulting in a loss of power or unintended vehicle movement. Ford said that separation might also cause damage to nearby parts such as brakes and fuel lines. “A driveshaft separation may increase the risk of injury or crash”.
Based on the field data, Ford does not expect the current flexible couplings to deteriorate sufficiently to result in driveline separation in vehicles with less than 30,000 miles. So drivers should schedule an appointment to get the coupling replaced after the vans hit that threshold. Flexible couplings should be replaced every 30,000 miles until the permanent fix is available.
“We are working quickly to make it available as soon as we can”, spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said.
Owners will be notified by mail and will get another letter once the permanent fix is available.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, the company estimated the total cost of repairs to its North American business to be $142 million. This is the second time this year a hefty recall charge has hurt Ford’s earnings, illustrating the disproportionate effect quality problems can have on Ford’s efforts to keep profits growing in a slowing US vehicle market.