Ford Dealership Under Federal Investigation For Allegedly Selling a Vehicle With an Open Recall

The vehicle was one of thousands Ford recalled over a leaky fuel tank.

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2021 Ford Escape
2021 Ford Escape
Image: Ford

The Feds have their eyes on Ford again. This time though it’s one of its dealers. The NHTSA investigation concerns allegations that a Ford dealer in New York state sold a new car with an open recall, Automotive News reports, which is a violation of federal law.

In a guide on recalls by the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association), recalled vehicles are placed on a “stop sale” until the recall is fixed. Vehicles cannot be sold, or delivered until this recall is attended to. You can see where this is going.

According to the NHTSA, someone tipped them off that Healey Brothers Ford in Beacon, N.Y. sold a brand new 2021 Escape without performing a recall fix on the vehicle. Ford sent a recall bulletin to dealers for the Escape and Lincoln Corsair on August 11, 2021. The recall, affecting 14,000 vehicles, involved a faulty fuel delivery module in the fuel tank that could leak, which could potentially cause the engine to stall. At this time, it’s not known if this vehicle was sold before or prior to the issued recall.

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Ford spokesperson, Karl Henkel, said in a statement to Automotive News that summarized says the dealer is on its own with this one: “Ford is aware of NHTSA’s audit inquiry and will be cooperating as we always do. While Ford dealers are independently owned, Ford communicates all recall information to dealers and customers in a timely manner as required by NHTSA.”

Investigators are currently looking into whether or not Healey Brothers Ford complied with the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Passed in 1966, it essentially tells automakers to issue recalls when defects are found, and enables the Feds to step in to see if those recalls are completed and act if they aren’t.

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The NHTSA is also looking into whether or not Healy Brothers Ford sold any other new vehicles with open recalls. The fine for pulling a stunt like this isn’t cheap either. A Chevy dealership in Arizona did the same thing a few years back, and was hit with a $40,000 fine.