AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY Faulty switch spurs Ford recall

Flawed cruise control mechanisms could cause fire.
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. is recalling nearly 800,000 pickups and sport utility vehicles because the cruise control switch could short circuit and cause a fire under the hood, the nation's second biggest automaker said Thursday.
The recall affects approximately 792,000 Ford F-150 pickups, Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators from the 2000 model year. Also affected are 2001 F-Series Supercrew trucks that were made at the same time.
Ford will notify owners of the recall in February, and dealers will deactivate the cruise control switch for free. Once the company has an adequate supply of replacement switches, it will send another letter notifying owners that they can get their switches replaced.
Ford said cruise control will be disabled once the switch is deactivated.
"We recognize this may be an inconvenience, but we believe this preventive action is in the best interest of our customers' safety," the company said.
Defect investigation
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the defect in November after receiving 36 reports of fires. All of the incidents occurred when the vehicle was parked and the ignition was turned off. No injuries were reported.
Ford said it worked closely with NHTSA throughout the investigation.
Ford shares fell 16 cents to close at $13.19 in Thursday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Its shares reached a 52-week low of $12.61 in October.

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