Ford Motor has recalled 2.9 million vehicles because of a potential defect that could enable them to move even if the gear shift seems to be in the park position.
The recalled models include 1.7 million Ford Escape sport utility vehicles from the 2013 to 2019 model years. The other models are the 2015-18 Edge S.U.V., the 2013-16 Fusion sedan, the 2013-18 C-Max compact van and the 2013-21 Transit Connect van.
The vehicles could have missing or damaged bearings that could prevent them from shifting into gear properly and allow them to move even if the shifter indicates they are in park. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said about 1 percent of the vehicles covered by the recall could have the defect. Ford told NHTSA that it was aware of six reports of property damage and four reports of injuries potentially related to the issue.
A similar risk affected Jeeps and several other models made by Fiat Chrysler several years ago. They were equipped with an electronic shifter that at times left drivers thinking they had shifted into park when the vehicles were still in neutral or drive. A Hollywood actor, Anton Yelchin, was killed when he stepped out of his Grand Cherokee and the vehicle rolled down a driveway, pinning him to a brick post.
Separately this week, Ford also recalled 49,000 Mustang Mach-E electric S.U.V.s to fix a problem that could cause battery connectors to overheat if the vehicles are being charged rapidly or driven at high speeds. The company said it would send an over-the-air software update to correct the issue. It also told dealers to stop delivering vehicles to customers until the software update had been made.
Ford said it expected the update to be distributed by the beginning of July. The defect was discovered by analyzing diagnostic data that Mach-E S.U.V.s transmit to Ford. No fires have resulted from the issue, Ford said.