Consumer Reports magazine has issued a safety alert for the Ford
Focus Fusion Hybrid and its corporate twin, the Mercury Milan Hybrid, citing poor transitions between regenerative and conventional braking.
Ford, insisting that this problem is totally unrelated to brake problems with the Toyota Prius, is not launching a recall, but rather a "Customer Satisfaction Program" for vehicles built on or before October 17, 2009.
Here's the offical Ford press release:
STATEMENT: FORD CUSTOMER SATISFACTION PROGRAM
Ford is proactively announcing a customer satisfaction program to update the software of the regenerative brake system of some 2010-model Ford Fusion Hybrids and Mercury Milan Hybrids.
Dearborn, Mich., Feb. 4, 2010 – Today, we are announcing a customer satisfaction program to update the software of the regenerative brake system of some 2010-model Ford Fusion Hybrids and Mercury Milan Hybrids.
We have received reports that some drivers have experienced a different brake feel when the hybrid’s unique regenerative brakes switch to conventional hydraulic braking. While the vehicles maintain full braking capability, customers may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes.
To be clear, the Fusion and Milan Hybrids’ brake system maintains full conventional brakes and full ABS function even as the customer sees visual indicators and hears a chime. The software threshold to transition from regenerative brakes to conventional brakes can cause the system to transition to conventional brakes unnecessarily.
The software upgrade will reduce unnecessary occurrences of the vehicle switching from regenerative braking to conventional hydraulic brakes.
Customers with affected vehicles will receive a notice in the mail. We are asking owners of affected vehicles to have vehicle software reprogrammed at dealers at no charge.
There have been no injuries related to this condition.