US: auto regulators to restart investigation of Ford sedan lighting issue image

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it would reopen a probe into half a million Ford cars that might have faulty lighting controls after initially deciding it didn’t warrant a recall.

The Transportation Department recently posted a notice on its website that the Office of Defects Investigation unit had been filed a petition from the North Carolina Consumers Council that asked for a probe of headlight and exterior lighting defects on the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis sedans, model years from 2003 to 2005. According to the complaints, the lighting issues occur when the cars are being driven. Back in November 2008 to March 2009 the models underwent an investigation, with the department saying “a safety-related defect has not been identified at this time and further use of agency resources does not appear to be warranted.” Now the additional investigation was reopened on April 1 and it involves 517,945 units. The lighting issues had been signaled through 604 consumer complaints through that date, including seven instances when allegedly the failure of the front lighting control module led to traffic accidents. The Dearborn, Michigan – based company previously decided that warranty would also cover lighting control defects.

The US automakers and the NHTSA itself have come under intense pressure and scrutiny after last year a record number of recall was triggered mainly due to a couple of safety crises – the General Motors ignition switch debacle and the Takata airbag inflator problems.

Via Bloomberg