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California Judge Expected to Force Ford to Recall Two Million Vehicles

Aired October 11, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: There's word today of another possible auto industry recall. But in this case, it wouldn't be the company or the federal government calling the shots; it would be a state judge in California. The judge says ignition devices in millions of Ford vehicles are faulty, and the company has tried to hide the problem for years. The judge hints he may order a massive recall today.

CNN's Greg Lefevre has been waiting for that decision.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREG LEFEVRE, CNN SAN FRANCISCO BUREAU CHIEF (on camera): The judge is expected to rule on whether or not he will order the Ford Motor Company to recall some 2 million Ford cars and trucks in the state of California. At issue is an ignition part. It's called a thick-film ignition module. The complaint has been on behalf of some 3 1/2 million Ford owners that Ford located this module too close to engine, that the module would get hot and fail and cause Ford cars and trucks to stall. At least one death has been attributed to an accident related to that stalling.

Ford maintains vigorously there has been nothing wrong with the thick film ignition module. Though, in the late 1980's, it issued a recall of some of its vehicles in a similar ignition module problem. The judge in this particular case is ruling on a matter that applies only to the state of California, though there are five other lawsuits now pending in other states.

A traffic safety organization estimates that this recall could cost Ford Motor Company an estimated $125 million, though, Ford, in court documents, said that its recall in the late 1980's cost the company $300 million.

Greg Lefevre, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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