Ford recalled about 850,000 vehicles, including two of its most popular models, on Friday amid concerns that an electrical glitch could cause the vehicles' air bags to malfunction during an accident.
The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker recalled 2013 and 2014 model year Fusion sedans, Escape crossovers, C-Max hybrids and Lincoln MKZ luxury cars sold in North America, Canada and Mexico.
A short circuit in the vehicles' restraint control module could disable front and side curtain air bags in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of injury, Ford said. The short will illuminate a vehicle's air bag warning light. Ford said it is unaware of any accidents or injuries resulting from the defect.
This is the second time in the past two days a U.S. auto maker has issued an air-bag related recall. On Thursday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled about 350,000 vehicles around the world to repair a faulty ignition switch that in some cases could cut power to the vehicle's air bags, steering and engine.
For Ford, the latest recall throws a harsh spotlight on its Ford Escape crossover. The vehicle has been recalled 12 times over the past two years for a variety of issues ranging from carpet padding that may depress the accelerator pedal to coolant system leaks that may cause the engine to overheat.
"Vehicle launches are complex and each one has its own issues," a Ford spokeswoman said. "We work through them and while we know this is an inconvenience for our customers, we are trying to insure their safety."
Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Automotive Safety, said Ford needs to assemble a team to thoroughly investigate the Escape.
"Our threshold is that when you have more than three recalls you are in deep water, when you have over 10, then you are in trouble," Mr. Ditlow said. "Ford has a problem with the Escape and there has to be an explanation for it."
Ford this year has sold 208,444 Escapes through the end of August making it the auto maker's third most popular selling vehicle behind the Fusion and F-series pickup truck. The Escape is priced starting at about $27,800.