DETROIT -- Under pressure from safety regulators, Ford is recalling 1.2 million older F-150 pickups for airbags that could deploy without warning, injuring the driver or passenger and increasing the risk of a crash.
The recall expands a February recall of 150,000 of the 2004-2006 model trucks by Ford. But at the time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's had expanded its investigation of the problem to look at 1.56 million of the trucks, three times the number it started looking at in a preliminary investigation of 2005 models. NHTSA said then it had reports about 60 injuries from unexpected air bag deployments in those vehicles.
With Thursday's action, Ford appears to have decided it needed to recall nearly all the trucks to resolve the matter with regulators.
F-Series trucks, of which F-150 is the largest component, are the nation's biggest-selling vehicles.
Ford has said the problem was caused by an electrical short due to wire chafing in the air bag/horn assembly in the steering wheel. It had resisted a wider recall, saying at the time of the earlier recall that most instances of the problem came as the trucks were started and not while they were underway. Ford made design changes starting with 2007 model year F-150s.