Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information below.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a defect investigation into model year 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta vehicles.
To date, NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 61 reports concerning the door latches on the Ford Fiesta vehicles in question. Complainants alleged that the door(s) failed to latch, with several reports indicating that the "door ajar" warning light on the dash appeared.
Of the reports identified, 12 allege that the door(s) opened after it was shut and the driver started their route. One injury was reported which was caused by a consumer being struck by a door that rebounded after attempting to close it.
ODI has opened this investigation to further analyze the scope, frequency and potential consequences of the alleged defect.
The investigation affects an estimated 205,000 Ford Fiesta vehicles.
UPDATE March 2015:
This investigation has been upgraded by ODI to an Engineering Analysis in order to further investigate the scope, frequency and consequence of this failure.
ODI has received 207 unique reports related to the alleged problem, with sixty-five claiming that the door(s) opened inadvertently while the vehicle was in motion. Two injuries were reported, both caused by a rebounding door striking a consumer after they attempted to close it.
In response to ODI's Information Request (IR), Ford Motor Company responded with 451 unique reports related to the alleged defect. One claim involved an incident in which property damage incurred after a door opened while driving at low speed and struck another vehicle. Ford also submitted 1,079 warranty claims related to door latch failures. Additionally Ford informed ODI in its IR response that model year 2013 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles utilize the same door latch as the 2011-13 Fiesta.
In its response, Ford stated that it does not believe that a latched door experiencing this condition will inadvertently unlatch and that there are many overt warning associated with a door that does not latch. ODI noted that the rate of occurrence for this failure is comparable to other door latch failure investigations and questions the effectiveness of warning signals given the number of complainants alleging that the door(s) opened while the vehicle was in motion.
The ODI reports cited above can be reviewed at odi.nhtsa.gov/complaints.