Ford is trying to incentivize its U.S. dealers to find and fix all the 2006 Ranger pick-up trucks plagued by potential Takata airbag issues. In February, over 33,000 Ranger owners were advised against driving their trucks.
According to Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt, the automaker has either accounted for or already repaired roughly 75% of those recalled Rangers. Yet, “additional, unprecedented measures” such as offering dealers incentives to find the remaining trucks were deemed necessary.
Now, Ford retailers can earn $1,000 for each Ranger they locate and fix. The issue is that airbag inflators built by Takata can explode and send metal shrapnel inside the cabin. It’s why the Japanese company filed for bankruptcy protection last summer, and also why as many as 35 million cars equipped with Takata inflators have so far been recalled around the world.
“We want to get to these vehicles as quickly as we can,” said Weigandt in an interview with Automotive News. “We just don’t want our customers driving these vehicles at all.”
Meanwhile, TheCarConnection reports that about 2,000 Mazda B-Series pickup trucks built by Ford at its assembly plant in St. Paul, Minnesota, also fall under this “do not drive” directive. The St. Paul plant is where the affected Rangers were built, from August through December of 2005 – although, not all 2006 Ranger pick-ups have been deemed unsafe.