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article imageFord Explorer owners complain their SUVs are poisoning them

By Karen Graham     Mar 23, 2019 in Business
The Ford Explorer is one of the world's most popular midsize SUV's, but a Bloomberg report published on Wednesday alleges that it may be making its owners sick.
The problem seems to be that sporadically, exhaust fumes are seeping into the vehicle's cabin, and in extreme cases, this can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a report issued Wednesday by Bloomberg that reviewed NHTSA’s database of reports—which goes back to 1995.
The first complaints about exhaust fumes seeping into the SUV cabins appeared to start with the introduction of the 5th-generation Ford Explorer in 2011. The first "documented" example came from a Ford employee, but Ford decided the circumstances needed to reproduce the problem were outside of "typical customer use."
Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include migraine headaches, fatigue, and dizziness, or even passing out. Over 3,000 Ford Explorer owners have complained to the company or federal regulators that exhaust fumes have seeped into their SUVs.
Over 50 legal claims by Explorer owners have been filed nationwide against Ford. Additionally, a number of police departments complained in 2017 that Explorers used as police cruisers were exposing the officers to carbon monoxide.
Complaints have covered models made between 2010 and 2018. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating drivers’ claims in 2016, and the investigation is still ongoing.
According to Bloomberg's report, Ford has been offering its dealers' repair instructions since 2012 and has issued updates and other additional instructions since then. A fix made available in 2017 has lowered complaints "dramatically," says Bloomberg, and, according to CNet, Ford reportedly says the solution "effectively resolves the matter." Even so, some claims persist.
"All of our testing to date has shown these vehicles are safe," said Mike Levine, North American product communications manager, in a statement to Bloomberg. "Ford's investigation has not found carbon monoxide levels that exceed what people are exposed to every day."
Here's the problem: Ford says there is nothing wrong with the Ford Explorer, yet the company has bought-back quite a number of the SUVs because of complaints by customers, as well as replaced poorly welded parts on some models. CNET's Roadshow asks: "Why ... hasn't NHTSA or Ford issued a recall?"
Should some sort of recall be announced, it would be devastating to Ford Motors. A recall would be expensive and involve a million-plus vehicle, costing the company hundreds of millions of dollars.
More about ford explorer, Carbon monoxide, poor welding, Nhtsa, over 3000 complaints
 
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