Written by Phil Maggitti
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Topics: Ford, Lincoln

Friday, 28 January 2005

image for Ford Recalls 24,000 SUV Drivers
Recalled drivers will wear regulation Ford clothes during training.

Concerned about the increasing rate of "irresponsible, negligent, and thoughtless behavior" exhibited by SUV drivers, Ford announced today that it is recalling 24,000 drivers of its Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator series in the first of a planned schedule of recalls. "We have notified the drivers by registered mail," said Dennis E. Ross, vice president and general counsel at Ford. "They will have five working days from the receipt of that notice to get their affairs in order. Of course, they are forbidden to operate any Ford motor vehicles during that time."

According to Ross, Ford was been swamped with complaints about SUV drivers turning left from right-hand lanes, taking up two parking spaces in shopping center lots, using their high beams to blind other drivers, and crushing companion animals because the drivers, who were talking on cell phones at the time, didn't see them.

"That kind of ignorance is unacceptable," he said. "Defective drivers are a danger not only to themselves but also to Ford's image."

Recalled drivers will be transported at Ford's expense to several decommissioned military bases around the country. There they will receive two weeks of intensive courteous-driver training. All training and housing will be provided by Ford. Recalled drivers will be permitted conjugal visits during the weekend, but these must be paid for by the drivers or their families. At the end of the training period, drivers will be road tested. Those who fail will have their vehicles impounded by Ford, which will retain those vehicles until drivers can pass a Ford courteous-driver test, which must be arranged and paid for by the drivers.

Some drivers have elected to trade in their vehicles rather than participate in the recall. "That's fine with us," said Ross. "Saves us money, actually. Besides, their names will go on a list that will be distributed to the FBI, and if they ever want to own another Ford vehicle again, they're still going to have to pass a courteous-driver test."

In related news, Ford announced that it was not recalling 200,000 SUVs with defective cruise control mechanisms that could cause the vehicles to explode without warning. "Our cost-benefit department says it would be cheaper to pay for a couple dozen funerals than it would be to recall the vehicles," said Charles B. Holleran, chief communications officer at Ford. "You got to take the entire dashboard out to fix one of those suckers."

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