June 17, 2002

Ford recalls T-Birds for seatbelt fix

Dearborn, Michigan – Ford announced that it will voluntarily recall 16,500 new Thunderbirds to modify the lower seat trim to eliminate the potential for the driver seat belt to contact the seat mechanism in the event of a severe frontal crash. Ford is taking this action because the driver seat belt was found to be partially cut after the vehicle was subjected to a 56 km/h (35 mph) frontal impact test into a solid barrier. The test was part of the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The seat belt did not fully separate and the driver test dummy was fully restrained throughout the test. The partial cut of the seat belt did not affect the test results.

Ford has not received any customer reports of this situation occurring. However, Ford is conducting this voluntary safety recall as part of our continuous improvement efforts. Ford will begin sending letters to customers next week with instructions on when to take their cars to dealerships. Customers will not be charged for the modification. Cars built after April 24, 2002, are not affected by this action.

Preliminary results from the frontal impact test indicate the Thunderbird received a four-star and five-star rating for the driver and passenger, respectively. A five-star rating is the highest possible score. The Thunderbird received a five-star rating during a previous NCAP test for side impacts.

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