Poornima Krishnan and her family were the proud owners of a white coloured Ford Ecosport Titanium Petrol on the 14th of October, 2015. Two weeks later, the family decided to drive from Bangalore to Sringeri. Even as they were a few kilometers away from Mangalore, misfortune struck. According to the vehicle’s owner, the front axle of the Ecosport completely collapsed, without warning.  The massive force generated by the collapsing axle sheared through the alloy wheel. And the alloy wheel isn’t made of jelly. It takes some force to violently tear apart an alloy wheel.

Ford Ecosport Axle Failure 1

What could’ve easily turned into tragedy from a mishap was perhaps averted by the smooth road and sparse traffic. If the same mechanical breakdown had occurred during an overtaking maneuver or with traffic behind, the results could have been be horrific. Now, axles breaking on heavily overloaded commercial vehicles is quite common on Indian roads. But on a brand new car, an axle breaking is very rare. The broken axle was just the beginning of the Ecosport owner’s problems.

Ford Ecosport Axle Failure 5

Cauvery Ford of Mangalore, who towed the vehicle away for repairs presented the Ecosport owner with a bill of nearly 3.4 lakh rupees. The Ecosport owner claims that Ford hasn’t intervened in this matter despite being informed of the axle breaking incident.

Ford Ecosport Axle Failure 9

 

While it’s hard to be objective as we haven’t heard Ford’s part of the story, here are 3 major reasons why the axle may have failed so dramatically,

1. Manufacturing defect. The suspension is of a modern day car is made of high strength, heavy duty components that are designed to take heavy abuse. Ford cars are known to be built tough, and represent some of the better cars for Indian road conditions, especially poor roads. However, a manufacturing defect that caused the axle to simply snap cannot be ruled out. While Ford has some pretty robust quality control measures in check, a bad part escaping scrutiny and causing all this mayhem is still a possibility, however small it may seem. Even if the axle has snapped, why has the wheel not been held back by the upper and lower suspension arms? So, the axle breaking theory may not be the actual reason for this suspension collapse.

2. Massive stress on the suspension due to a rock, a huge pothole or severe overloading. CV joints of the independent suspension system can easily break when the wheels are steered against a stubborn obstacle such as a rock. In fact, off roaders prefer a solid axle up front due to this factor. Coming back to the Ecosport, other road imperfections such as potholes and speed breakers taken at very high speeds can also break the suspension. While severe overloading is another possibility, it usually happens in case of commercial vehicles rather than passenger cars.

3. Wheel alignment job gone bad. Given that the Ecosport was barely two weeks old, a wheel alignment job or worn out suspension are unlikely suspects. During wheel alignment, if the tie rods aren’t tightened properly, they could fail, leading to a cascade of other component failures. A tie rod failure at high speed will cause the wheel to violently shake. This uncontrollable shake can shear off the lower arm of the suspension, unsettle the CV joint and cause the whole suspension system to collapse. Wheel alignment generally happens at the factory, or if needed (but very rarely) during the PDI (pre-delivery inspection) done by the dealer. If an errant mechanic hasn’t tightened tie rods adequately, the resultant damage isn’t surprising. But it could be more of a slippage from the factory.

It’s in Ford India’s best interest that they take possession of the car and investigate the cause of failure.

Via Team-BHP

12 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for sharing this news.
    This has to reach more people. Ford India needs to investigate the matter and come to a conclusion about the failure before sending the owners a 6 digit bill. First the company should make sure that it wasnt a manufacturing defect, give a good explanation of what happened and why. Something like this from a month old car is not at all acceptable.
    This may be due to a flaw in the QC/QA process,and if there is an issue , the vehicles need to be recalled and fixed.

  2. This is completely Fords responsibility. If you sell vehicles with out making sure each and every mechanical device is fixed and working properly it’s not good.

    Note its a brand new car. and this type of incidents muat be looked very seriously. Human life is valuable than anything else in the world.

    Negligence is not acceptable in any cost.

    You car makers are not doing any favour to us. We are paying a good amount of money for your product.

  3. Two weeks and the owner has to pay .. Here i am fighting with mahindra because of the problem in tyres/wheels/alingment/ hell..from past one year .
    I purchased a w4 from lajpat nagar , koncept mahindra showroom 2014 oct . Its been an year now the problem is still there which i face the second day after buying. Mahindra blames JK TYRES. JK Tyres blames me that i dont know how to drive .. Where i drive 60-80 km per hr. And driving from past 16 yrs.. Worst day of my life was when i went to showroom to buy a scrap of 13 lakh called xuv 500

  4. This is India warrenty /gurrantee only on papers .. Like my case mahindra have proof that there is no problem in the car. JK tyres have proof that there is no problem in tyres . Now where will i get the proof that i didn’t drove rash.. And Modi ji says make in india buy indian products . I would like to tell him these are the reasons why we dont buy indian products

  5. Had anyone lost their life, the company would have happily paid the bill and paid their condolences to the family but since no one got hurt, the company doesn’t even bother to look into the matter. That is how mnc’s are fooling Indians and minting billions by giving out poor quality products. I feel there should be some kind of external comittee who looks into this matter.

  6. It was clean empty Road without any potholes or humps.we were at a speed of 55 km as it had rained we did not dare speed. Good year had sent an investigation team and said that it was an external impact and has no evidences or theory to support their point. We are unable to understand what kind of external impact they talking about.

  7. Something phishing in this FORD ECO issue. Definitely it will cover under warranty if it is manufacturing defect as it was purchased just couple of weeks back. This smartness should be utilized to go to consumer court and file a compliant instead to post it here if you are confident.

  8. Poornima Krishnan , please do not let the matter pass. In India, we never get things cleared clean and straight. There will always be blame games and people trying to get their way out of the situation.
    Last month my friend’s car had got damaged at the Authorized service center. In his case, there were some other body works needed, so the insurance had taken pictures before the works. In that the damage was not there, and after repairs the damage appeared. He had asked the vehicle to be delivered at home and noticed the damage the next day when he took the car out. He approached the company and the offered to stick the broken bumper using glue and assured him that it will stay. However, the crack widened in a week. He complained to the service center again and they said they will discuss about it with higher management but kept on postponing for a few weeks. Its only after he called up the higher authorities and lodged a complaint with the central call center, that the dealership accepted the mistake and replaced the bumper.

    From the discussion on team-bhp I have noticed that Ford has recommended you to go via insurance and agreed to pay out the rest of the amount. I would however, request you not to go via this way and insist that Ford handles this under warranty. If you go via insurance, you would end up losing the no claim bonus, and even if the amounts may sound much lesser than the repair costs by Ford, in my opinion, you should not take up any loss for Ford’s fault.
    As suggested by others, the tyre damage may have happened after the impact with the inner wall of the wheel arch. Even if it was a direct hit to the tyre the car should not have behaved this way. I think you should fight for full payment by Ford.

  9. Arjun you are right. We are gonna file a case shortly. Depends on ford. We are not accepting a refurbished car at any cost. Not worried about who is bearing the repair. Even if ford is ready to pay complete cost we are not going to accept it.we are so scared to sit in that car again. When this can happen to a brand new car how can I drive a repaired car?

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