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Ford Buys Back Windstars

November 18th, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an unusual move, Ford Motor Company announced that it would buy back some older model Windstars with failed rear axles. That leaves one Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) probe into corrosion complaints for the minivan closed and one to go.

The rare buyback, limited to older models, follows on the heels of the automaker’s August recall for 462,750 minivans from the 1998-2003 model years for rear axle failures. The recall covered vans sold or registered in 21 Salt Belt states. The replacement parts apparently wouldn’t be ready until next year, and, in the meantime, Ford was providing owners of Windstars bearing compromised axles with rental vehicles until the new axles arrive. The buyback is an interim measure; Ford is not buying any vehicles purchased after Aug. 26.

“At our discretion, the remedy we offer may involve repurchasing a customer’s vehicle at a price we believe either matches or exceeds market value,” the company said in a customer Q & A filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The buyback may prove to be the cheaper course of action. Windstars with broken axles are apparently piling up at dealership lots, where they are stored for $38 a day, awaiting the replacement parts.
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Ford Recalls Additional 1998-2003 Ford Windstars



Dec 16, 2010

In August, Ford recalled over half a million Windstars from the 1998-2003 model year for corrosion on the rear axle that can lead to cracks, and in extreme situations, accidents. This month, Ford is expanding that recall to include about 37,000 more Windstars.

This recall emerges amid controversy. The New York Times explains that the hasty recall “was prompted in part by the death of a Massachusetts man” named Sean Bowman. The Times adds that “NHTSA investigators inspected the vehicle in which Sean Bowman, 28, died and then decided to issue the warning. [A spokes woman for the agency] said there was also a concern that the axle failure could increase the chance of a crash and that the agency needed to make sure consumers got the vehicles fixed. Ford had originally denied there was any danger involved should a rear axle break.”

There are no other fatality reports, but as of September 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received 891 complaints, eight reports of crashes and three injury reports.

Now Sean Bowman’s wife, Justine, and some safety experts are speaking out. They are “accusing Ford of failing to give the recall the urgency it deserved,” says the Boston Globe. “Ford Motor Co. declined to comment on Bowman's case or why the family says it got its notice more than six weeks after the automaker announced the recall in August. But Ford said the recall was no secret. The announcement was carried by the AP and other organizations at the time.” Law requires automakers to notify vehicle owners of a recall within a reasonable amount of time – most notify their clients within 30 days.

If you own a Windstar, you should know that the recall now covers Utah and Canada, as well as Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

NHTSA urges “owners of model year 1998 to 2003 Ford Windstar minivans to bring their vehicles to a Ford dealership immediately to be examined for signs of rear axle corrosion.” The dealers will replace the affected parts free of charge. Vehicle owners may contact Ford at 1-866-436-7332 and the NHTSA Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
LINK: Ford Recalls Additional 1998-2003 Ford Windstars - U.S. News Rankings and Reviews
 
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