WASHINGTON — A consumer group on Thursday asked federal regulators to order the recall of 211,000 1985-model Ford Escorts and Mercury Lynx cars, alleging that side windows on the cars tend to shatter explosively.
The Center for Auto Safety, in its petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, released an internal Ford Motor Co. document estimating that window shattering occurs in one out of every 200 of the cars sold.
The document was obtained by a Howell, Mich., attorney, Jay Drick, in a lawsuit filed against Ford in connection with an alleged shattering incident, said Robert Dewey, a spokesman for the center.
Parked and Moving
"Owners report the shatterings occur both while the vehicle is parked and in motion," the center's petition to the safety agency said. "The glass splinters usually shatter into the passenger compartment and are accompanied by a loud explosion."
No serious injuries have resulted from the shatterings, Dewey said.
Winston Leavell, a Ford spokesman in Dearborn, Mich., said: "We haven't found the documents that the Center for Auto Safety refers to, but we'll look into it, of course. One thing we can point out is that side glass is tempered and doesn't shatter, as the (center's) letter mistakenly states."
The shatterings occur on Escorts and Lynxes made after a model change in mid-1985, the center said.
Ford made engineering changes for the 1986 models to eliminate the problem, the center said.
At a May 16, 1985, meeting, a Ford committee concluded the shattering was caused by scratching of the window glass by a rolling mechanism, which broke the tempering of the glass, according to minutes obtained through the Michigan lawsuit.
"The door glass is tempered, which makes a very tough skin," the minutes said. "However, if this skin is broken the glass could break under any condition."