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Flex Fuel Car Recall

Ford- Brazil Recall -'Flex Fuel' Cars

August 09, 2006

save money, fuel economy, gas mileage

WASHINGTON —  The Brazilian division of Ford Motor Co. announced a recall of 102,000 multi-fuel cars (flexible fuel vehicles) for inspection of a tiny gasoline repository used to start the vehicles when their main tanks are filled with ethanol during cold weather.

Flex fuel cars which run on either ethanol, gasoline, or any combination of the two, are wildly popular in Brazil. The small tanks in these cars are essential in cold weather. Lower temps can make it difficult or even impossible to start the cars using ethanol fuel. When temperatures plunge, these vehicles start up and run until warm by using gasoline in the extra tank, then automatically switching to ethanol.

Ford said in a statement that some fuel system parts in the recalled Fiesta and EcoSport models may develop cracks, leading to fuel leaks.
Since they were introduced to the market in 2003, flex fuel vehicles have come to represent 70 percent of new car sales in Brazil, driven by skyrocketing international oil prices.
Brazil is a major producer of ethanol distilled from sugar cane and sells for about half the price of petroleum based gasoline in the country.
Latin America's biggest nation, Brazil is hailed as a model for its use of renewable fuels, and ethanol is available at virtually all fuel stations.
Ford said the recall affects models with 1.6-liter engines produced between 2004 and 2006, and inspections will determine whether the tanks, which can be smaller than a windshield wiper fluid reservoir, need replacement.
Ford has three factories in Brazil, all which make flex-fuel vehicles. The factories employ 9,500 people and is the country's fourth-largest automaker, behind Italy's Fiat SpA, General Motors Corp. and Volkswagen AG.


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