By Tom Krisher ,AP
DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. is telling owners of one version of the brand-new Ford Escape not to drive the SUVs until dealers can fix fuel lines that can crack and spill gasoline, causing engine fires.
The company issued the unusual warning on 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. The company is hoping 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. “We are obviously taking very quick action in the interest of our customers’ safety,” she said.
Escapes powered by other engines are not affected, nor are other Ford models with 1.6-liter engines, Zwiebel said.
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. Problems often crop up when new vehicles are introduced, even though automakers have improved quality in recent years.
The new Escape is among Ford’s top-selling vehicles. People bought 28,500 last month, up 28 percent from June 2011.
The Escapes in the latest recall were built at the company’s Louisville, Kentucky, plant from early April through July 11.