Mazda recalls Tribute SUV to fix throttle problem

Mazda Motor Corp will recall 217,500 Tribute sport-utility vehicles sold in the U.S. to fix the same sticking gas pedal problem that Ford Motor Co. is dealing with in older Escape SUVs.

The vehicles were jointly developed and share the same design.

The Mazda recall affects Tributes from the 2001 to 2006 model years and the 2008 model. Like the Ford recall, only vehicles equipped with the 3-liter, V6 engine and cruise control are affected.

Ford on Thursday recalled 421,000 Escapes sold in the U.S. Ford said the problem occurs because of inadequate clearance between the engine cover and the cruise control cable. This can cause the throttle to stick when the accelerator pedal is fully or almost fully depressed. It plans to fix the problem by having dealers raise the engine cover by replacing a fastener. This will provide adequate clearance for the cable, Ford said.

The recall came just a week after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an inquiry into the problem, noting 68 complaints, including 13 accidents, nine injuries and one fatality. The issues affect Escapes from the 2001 through 2004 model years with the 3.0-liter, V-6 engine.


“Our internal investigation was already underway then, and we just completed our full technical investigation into the issue and the cause, which led us to taking this action,” Ford spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said.

The consumer group, the Center for Auto Safety, said that based on the age of the vehicles and the number of complaints, Ford has known about the problem for a long time. The group said that quicker action by the automaker might have saved the life of Saige Bloom, an Arizona teen killed in an Escape crash in January.

In a letter to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, the group said that Ford’s suggested fix for the problem was inadequate and asked regulators to impose the maximum fine of at least $17 million against the company for failing to recall the vehicles in 2005, when it was first aware of the problem.


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