As recalls go, it's a whopper — 1.19 million Ford F-150's (Model years '04-06) and a select number of Lincoln Mark LT vehicles (Model year '06) are being recalled by Ford due to airbags that may deploy inadvertently. Under CEO Alan Mulally, this is one of the largest recalls at Ford. A rare black eye for a company that has steadily improved its quality and reliability over the last five years.
On the surface, the F-150 recall seems pretty straight forward. There have been 269 complaints about F-150 airbags deploying without warning. It's resulted in minor injuries for 98 people. But the back story behind this recall shows tug-of-war between an automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when it comes to recalls. And ever since the massive Toyota recalls in later 2009 and early 2010, it is clear Washington will only negotiate for so long before it finally says to the automaker, "Do the recall or we'll force you to do it."
That's what's been happening with the F-150 recall.