Safety regulators investigate Ford stalling problem

02/25/2013 2:25 PM

05/16/2014 9:16 PM

U.S. safety regulators will investigate problems with stalling or surging engines in nearly 725,000 Ford cars and SUVs.

The probe affects Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs and Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans from the 2009 through 2011 model years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the vehicles can unexpectedly go into “limp home mode” at reduced power. The agency and Ford have received almost 1,500 complaints about the problem. There were three crashes and one injury. The cars and SUVs haven’t been recalled, but the investigation could lead to a recall.

Auto recalls

• Rolls-Royce is recalling 27 of its 2013 Phantom models for a possible fire hazard, according to a report the automaker sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The automaker said the “anti-misfueling device” was missing on the fuel filler neck. The device prevents diesel fuel from being used and also discharges static electricity to reduce the chance of a fire.

The automaker estimated seven of the vehicles have been sold and the others were “under the care” of dealers.

•  Chrysler is recalling 1,785 Chrysler 200s and Dodge Avengers from the 2013 model year because of a possible fuel leak or the engine stalling, according to a report the automaker filed with the safety agency. The automaker blamed a damaged valve in the fuel tank and said it learned of the problem from the supplier. Chrysler said it wasn’t aware of any owners having either a stalled engine or a fuel leak.

AT snags OnStar service

AT Inc. is scoring a win over rival Verizon Wireless as it takes over the contract to supply wireless connections to cars with General Motors’ OnStar service. Verizon Wireless and its predecessor companies have supplied the network for OnStar since the service launched in the 1990s, but AT will take over with the 2015 model year, AT and GM said Monday.

The news comes as cellphone companies are jostling to connect non-phone devices to their networks. Now that nearly everyone has a phone, the phone companies have to look elsewhere for growth. Dallas-based AT has been particularly aggressive in this area, garnering, for instance, the contract to connect Amazon Kindle e-readers.

AT will connect OnStar cars to its new “4G LTE” network, which can supply much higher data speeds than current OnStar connections. That means GM could deliver car software updates wirelessly, instead of making owners take their cars to the shop. It could also enable video streaming for passengers, in-vehicle Wi-Fi “hotspots” and give GM a better view of what’s going on inside a car, and whether it needs maintenance. Owners might even be able to call up views from their car’s cameras, remotely.

Best Buy online pricing policy

Best Buy plans to end showrooming as consumers know it.

The electronics retailer is joining Target in making its online price-match policy effective year-round, instead of just during the holidays. It’s an attempt by major retailers to convince consumers that they can find prices in stores that are as low as online.

Best Buy declined to say how many price matches it did during the holiday season, but most experts estimate that fewer than 5 percent of customers ask for a price match.

New Nokia phones

Nokia Oyj, the Finnish mobile-phone maker attempting a comeback, unveiled two cheaper Lumia smartphones and two basic handsets, broadening its portfolio to challenge Apple Inc.’s iPhone and devices using Android.

The Lumia 520 will cost $185 before wireless- carrier subsidies, Nokia’s cheapest handset using the Windows Phone 8 software from Microsoft Corp. The Lumia 720, which includes wireless charging similar to the flagship 920, will cost slightly higher. Both are set to start shipping this quarter, and will be available from carriers including China Mobile Ltd., Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop said at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today.

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