Mazda recalling more than 200,000 Tributes for throttle problems

Nearly half a million Escapes recalled Thursday

The day after Ford Motor Company issued a major recall of nearly half a million Escapes, Mazda announced that it is recalling more than 200,000 Tributes for the same potentially deadly problem with stuck throttles.

Both recalls come on the heels of months of reporting by the ABC15 Investigators into the problem.

Mazda said Friday that the company is recalling 217,500 2001-2008 Tributes with V6 engines and speed control because of "potential interference between the engine cover and the speed control cable."

The speed control cable can stick under the engine cover when the gas pedal is almost fully or fully depressed, which forces the throttle open and the car to speed out of control.

Thursday, Ford issued a recall of 484,600 2001 to 2004 Escapes for the same issue.

Both automakers say they will fix the problem by raising the engine covers in the SUVs, allowing more clearance for the cable so it won't become stuck.

But auto safety experts are calling the recall insufficient. They say the speed control cable itself in these model SUVs is defective and needs to be replaced.

Joan Claybrook, a former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and auto advocate, said "Ford has proposed a totally inadequate recall and NHTSA should not let them get away with this."

Clarence Ditlow with the Center for Auto Safety in Washington called on NHTSA yesterday to fine Ford for failing to recall these vehicles years ago.

Friday, Ford told us that they are addressing the safety issue in their fix. "A non-functioning speed control system is not a safety issue," the company said.

We first exposed acceleration issues in both SUVs as part of our investigation into the death a 17 year-old Saige Bloom after her 2002 Ford Escape accelerated out of control and crashed earlier this year in Payson, AZ.

Owners will be notified by mail and the company says they should take their SUVs to a Mazda dealer immediately to fix the problem.

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