Ford Motor Co. is telling owners of one version of the brand-new Ford Escape not to drive the sport utility vehicles until dealers can fix fuel lines that can crack and spill gasoline, causing engine fires.
Ford issued the warning Thursday and said it is recalling 2013 Escapes equipped with 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines. Dealers will pick up the Escapes and drop off a loaner car that customers can use until the repairs are finished. Ford hopes to ship parts and get all the SUVs repaired in the next two weeks.
Ford says it has three reports of fires: two at the factory and one while a customer was driving an Escape. No one has been injured.
The recall affects 11,500 Escapes in the U.S. and Canada. Only 4,800 have been sold to customers. The rest are on dealer lots and will be fixed before they are sold, spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said.
At Riverhead Ford, co-owner Leo Sternlicht said he had sold none of the affected Escapes yet and had only one in stock, which won't be delivered to a customer until the recall work is performed.
Escapes powered by other engines are not affected, nor are other Fords with 1.6-liter engines, Zwiebel said, adding that it's safe to park the affected Escapes in your garage because the fires happen only while the vehicles are moving.
This is the second recall of the redesigned Escape, which went on sale in June. On Saturday, the company said it would recall more than 10,000 Escapes to fix carpet padding that could interfere with braking. The new version of the SUV is among Ford's top-selling vehicles. People bought 28,500 Escapes last month, up 28 percent from June 2011. -- With Tom Incantalupo