The F-150 might be Ford’s best-selling vehicle (and the best-selling vehicle in the U.S.), but it’s having one hell of a bad year.
The automaker has issued a recall for nearly 2 million F-150 pickup trucks due to a seat belt defect that could result in vehicle fires. Ford says it has received at least 23 “reports of smoke or fire,” but no injuries.
The recall affects the 2015-18 model-year Ford F-150 made from March 12, 2014, through Aug. 23, 2018, in Dearborn, Mich., and from Aug. 20, 2014, through Aug. 23, 2018, in Kansas City.
“Ford’s investigation found that some front seat belt pretensioners can generate excessive sparks when they deploy,” the company said in a statement. “When sufficient sparks are present, gases exhausted inside the lower portion of the B-pillar by the pretensioners may ignite. If this gas ignites, components behind the B-pillar such as insulation and carpet may subsequently catch fire.”
The recall is just the latest woe in the past 12 months for the Ford F-150. Last December, Ford recalled more than 200,000 F-150s due to loose front power seats. In April, Ford recalled another 350,000 amid reports the trucks could roll, even when parked.
And in May of this year, Ford was forced to stop production of the F-150 truck after a fire at a parts factory. (Production resumed six days later.)
The F-150 is a critical brand for Ford. According to The Detroit Free Press, an analyst found that the enterprise value of the trucks is greater than that of Ford overall. Close to 900,000 Ford F-150s were sold last year, with an additional 287,295 sold so far this year.