U.S. Regulators Probe Ford Floor Mat Safety

Floor mats on some 2010 Ford Motor Co. models have caused accelerator pedals to stick.

Federal safety regulators are investigating reports that floor mats on some 2010 Ford Motor Co. models have caused accelerator pedals to stick, it emerged on June 2.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a statement dated May 28, warned owners of 2010 Ford fusion and Mercury Milan vehicles not to place any unsecured floor mats on top of the standard, carpeted floor mat in the driver's side foot well.

The NHTSA said it was "opening a formal investigation to examine allegations of the pedals becoming trapped in the depressed position after the driver releases the pedal to decelerate."

The agency said it had verified three consumer complaints concerning the 2010 Ford Fusion that the company's optional rubber "All Weather" mat, when laid on top of the secured, standard carpeted floor mat in the drivers side foot well, "can slip forward and trap the accelerator pedal."

None of the complaints involved crashes, injuries or fatalities, the agency said.

Ford was not immediately available to comment.

Japanese rival Toyota last year acknowledged a problem with floor mats that was causing accelerator pedals to stick, but in January issued massive vehicle recalls, citing unintended acceleration not linked to floor mats.

Separately, the Chinese product-safety watchdog announced Ford and Ford and Mazda are recalling more than 230,000 vehicles made by their China joint venture to fix a software problem blamed for bouts of engine failure. The companies are recalling 236,643 Focus cars made between August 2008 and May 28 of this year, the Chinese regulators said in a notice on its website on June 1. The two carmakers operate a joint venture in China with Changan Automobile. The statement said the carmakers would provide customers with updated engine software free of charge.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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