The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation last month into door latches on certain Ford Fiesta vehicles. The probe followed reports of doors failing to properly latch or stay shut, including complaints about doors opening while the car was already in motion. NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation says it has received 61 complaints about the door latches on model year 2011 through 2013 Ford Fiesta vehicles, leading it to initiate the investigation on Sept. 11.
Some of the reports allege the affected Fiesta vehicles have defective door latches, causing the “door ajar” warning light on the dash to appear, NHTSA said, with 12 of the reports claiming the door opened after it was shut and the drivers had already started their route. Examples of the complaints include:
One of the reports detailed an injury that occurred when a door rebounded and struck a person while they were attempting to close it. A consumer said their rear door could not be shut after returning home and parking the vehicle, making the car undriveable. The complaint said the incident occurred on Sunday, when the dealer was closed, and negatively affected the driver, who needed it to get to work at 8:30 a.m. on Monday.
Another report says that while the Fiesta was being driven at 45 miles per hour, the rear driver-side passenger door “flew open” and would not close. The consumer said their 13-year-old daughter was positioned in the rear driver side of the vehicle at the time and nearly fell out. And since they are three miles over the warranty mileage, their local dealership refuses to fix the issue. Another consumer said in an August complaint:
The front passenger door latch broke and failed after my friend had entered the vehicle. We did not realize the door latch failed until after I began driving. The first corner I took, the door flew open and he was nearly ejected from the vehicle. Had it not been for his seat belt holding him in the car, he would have been seriously injured.
NHTSA’s investigation was opened just four months after Ford recalled 582,000 2013 and 2014 Ford Escapes because of flawed door latches. The automaker said at the time that there were no reports of crashes or injuries stemming from the issue. The affected Escape sports utility vehicles were built in its Louisville, Ky., plant from Oct. 5, 2011 to Feb. 14, 2014.
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