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Fuel line damage caused Ford recall

A manufacturing problem at a company that makes fuel lines forced Ford to recall thousands of its brand-new Escape SUVs and tell US and Canadian owners to stop driving them right away.

The car maker said there was a risk of an engine fire in the crossover model, which will be in UK showrooms next year as the new Ford Kuga.

In documents filed by Ford and posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website, the company said fuel lines were "mechanically scored" or damaged on the outside during manufacturing.

The lines, made by a TI Group Automotive Systems plant in Indiana, can split when pushed over a connector fitting, and leaking fuel could ignite.

The recall involved 11,500 Escapes. About 4,800 have been sold to customers and the rest are in dealerships.

Ford urged customers in the US and Canada not to drive the SUVs and to contact dealers, who would pick up the Escape and drop off a loan car. The problem affects only 2013 Escapes equipped with 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engines.

TI Automotive spokesman Frank Buscemi said the company was "working with Ford to identify root cause and resolve the issue".

The problem was discovered on June 9 when a newly-built Escape caught fire while a Ford worker was driving it from the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky to a holding centre for shipping, the documents said. After two more fires - one on June 18 involving an Escape being driven by a customer in Canada - Ford engineers determined that the problem involved the engine compartment fuel line.

The company approved the recall on July 16, according to the documents.

No-one was hurt in any of the three fires, the documents said.

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