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Federal Regulators Investigating Ford Bronco Over Reports of Catastrophic Engine Failure

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The top U.S. auto-safety regulator is opening an investigation into reported catastrophic engine failures with some Ford Bronco vehicles, yet another setback in the auto maker’s efforts to improve its quality record.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a filing made public this week that it was opening a formal investigation into a series of reports involving 2021 Ford Bronco SUVs that experienced loss of power at highway speeds. The probe covers nearly 25,500 vehicles, NHTSA said.

NHTSA said it had been weighing whether to open an investigation into the potential defect since late May, when the agency said it received multiple petitions from Bronco owners about the alleged defect. In a meeting last month with

Ford Motor,

F -1.05%

NHTSA staff learned the alleged loss of power is a result of catastrophic engine failures due to the engine valves failing, the agency said in the filing.

Ford didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

No injuries or crashes have been linked to the alleged problem to date, according to NHTSA’s filing.

Ford has the most recalls of any U.S. auto maker in 2022, having launched 45 of them this year, according to NHTSA data. The company issued a recall for about 39,000 large SUVs in May, citing reports of under-the-hood fires in vehicles that were parked and turned off. In June, Ford recalled about 49,000 Mustang Mach-E vehicles because of an issue that could cause a battery component to overheat and potentially cause the car to lose power, the company said. In the same month, the car maker recalled more than 3.3 million vehicles that it said had a risk of rolling away when placed in park.

“We continue to be hampered by recalls and customer satisfaction actions,” Ford Chief Executive

Jim Farley

said in an April earnings call. “This has to change.”

Reports of engine problems in the Bronco date to this spring, when multiple owners filed petitions with NHTSA asking the agency to open a formal investigation into the alleged problem. The petitioners alleged that 2021 Broncos were experiencing a loss of motor power at highway speeds.

“Some have barely avoided major injury when their vehicles have had complete power loss at freeway speeds in traffic,” one owner wrote in a petition.

Ford identified the root cause of the alleged defect as interference between the valve and piston within the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engines, which can result in the engine locking up, NHTSA said. The regulator has identified 26 reports that related to the alleged defect in the Bronco.

NHTSA said it opened the formal investigation to assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.

Ford revived the Bronco in 2020 in an effort to grab market share from off-road-vehicle giant Jeep—a brand operated by global auto maker

Stellantis

NV. The Bronco’s launch was hindered by production snags that required roofs on some models to be replaced, delaying delivery for some customers.

Write to Ryan Felton at [email protected]

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



The top U.S. auto-safety regulator is opening an investigation into reported catastrophic engine failures with some Ford Bronco vehicles, yet another setback in the auto maker’s efforts to improve its quality record.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a filing made public this week that it was opening a formal investigation into a series of reports involving 2021 Ford Bronco SUVs that experienced loss of power at highway speeds. The probe covers nearly 25,500 vehicles, NHTSA said.

NHTSA said it had been weighing whether to open an investigation into the potential defect since late May, when the agency said it received multiple petitions from Bronco owners about the alleged defect. In a meeting last month with

Ford Motor,

F -1.05%

NHTSA staff learned the alleged loss of power is a result of catastrophic engine failures due to the engine valves failing, the agency said in the filing.

Ford didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

No injuries or crashes have been linked to the alleged problem to date, according to NHTSA’s filing.

Ford has the most recalls of any U.S. auto maker in 2022, having launched 45 of them this year, according to NHTSA data. The company issued a recall for about 39,000 large SUVs in May, citing reports of under-the-hood fires in vehicles that were parked and turned off. In June, Ford recalled about 49,000 Mustang Mach-E vehicles because of an issue that could cause a battery component to overheat and potentially cause the car to lose power, the company said. In the same month, the car maker recalled more than 3.3 million vehicles that it said had a risk of rolling away when placed in park.

“We continue to be hampered by recalls and customer satisfaction actions,” Ford Chief Executive

Jim Farley

said in an April earnings call. “This has to change.”

Reports of engine problems in the Bronco date to this spring, when multiple owners filed petitions with NHTSA asking the agency to open a formal investigation into the alleged problem. The petitioners alleged that 2021 Broncos were experiencing a loss of motor power at highway speeds.

“Some have barely avoided major injury when their vehicles have had complete power loss at freeway speeds in traffic,” one owner wrote in a petition.

Ford identified the root cause of the alleged defect as interference between the valve and piston within the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engines, which can result in the engine locking up, NHTSA said. The regulator has identified 26 reports that related to the alleged defect in the Bronco.

NHTSA said it opened the formal investigation to assess the scope, frequency, and potential safety-related consequences of the alleged defect.

Ford revived the Bronco in 2020 in an effort to grab market share from off-road-vehicle giant Jeep—a brand operated by global auto maker

Stellantis

NV. The Bronco’s launch was hindered by production snags that required roofs on some models to be replaced, delaying delivery for some customers.

Write to Ryan Felton at [email protected]

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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