Phoebe Wall Howard
| Detroit Free Press
Video first drive: 2021 Ford Bronco SportFetching compact SUV impresses with off-road capability, room, featuresMark Phelan, Detroit Free Press Auto CriticFord Motor Co. is recalling its popular 2021 Bronco Sport SUV for a second time, now for an incorrect lower control arm that could result in reduced vehicle stability and increase the risk of a rollover crash at maximum roof load.This recall involves 106 vehicles built on Dec. 9; Ford estimated 50% are defective.For industry observers, it’s not whether recalls involve 100 or 100,000 new vehicles but the perceived systemic breakdowns that cause them to occur that are worrisome.Ford Bronco Sport was just launched in November. Ford had sold 13,170 Bronco Sports in the U.S. through January, according to its sales reports.The recall is posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website dated Feb. 16 with Ford documents attached. The company did not send out a media notice, as is routine, because the action affected fewer than 250 consumers.Ford confirmed early Friday the second recall and notice information is available to consumers on the Ford website.’Squeak and rattle’David Johnson, director, service engineering operations, Ford customer service division, wrote federal officials on Feb. 17 that any incorrect front lower control arm will be replaced, and the front suspension will be aligned at no charge to the owner.Ford said in the filing it is not aware of any injuries or deaths related to this issue.Explaining how the safety problem occurred, Ford said: “On December 11, 2020, a squeak and rattle audit at Ford Hermosillo Assembly Plant identified a noise in the front LH (left hand) lower control arm. The team reviewed the part and determined that it was an incorrect part and not the one required for the Bronco Sport. Further investigation determined that the supplier (Martinrea) incorrectly built 25 LH (left hand) and 25 RH (right hand) parts into a maximum of 50 front suspension modules for Bronco Sport.””On February 9, 2021, Ford’s Field Review Committee reviewed the concern and approved a field action,” Ford said.”The supplier produced front suspension modules with incorrect front lower control arms due to insufficient material control,” Johnson wrote.The vehicle parts and modules supplier, Martinrea International, is headquartered in Ontario, Canada with an office in Auburn Hills. The company didn’t reply to a phone call, text or email requesting comment. Bronco Sport SUVs are assembled in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.Ford letters are expected to go out to Bronco Sport owners the week of April 5, asking them to have their vehicles inspected and repaired as needed, according to the federal website.A rough monthOn Feb. 19, Ford announced its recall of 1,666 Bronco Sports for a rear suspension flaw where loose or missing bolts could affect vehicle stability and reduce protection during rear impact.Also this month, Ford recalled the 2020-21 Ford F-150, in addition to the 2020 Ford F-Series Super Duty and a repeat Takata recall involving 154,000 vehicles to fix a previous Ford recall where parts seem to have been unaccounted for.Recalls of new products come following launch challenges in 2019 and 2020:Ford CEO Jim Farley told analysts on Wednesday during a fireside chat as part of the Wolfe Research Virtual Global Auto, Auto Tech, and Mobility Conference that he is committed to reducing warranty costs and inefficiencies. He said the company has the opportunity to reduce more than $1 billion in such costs globally, mostly in North America.”We are not competitive yet on costs,” Farley said.Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at 313-222-6512 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid.