(BENZINGA) – Ford Motor Company F is delaying the production of its Escape hybrid plug-in SUV to 2021 after similar vehicles were recalled in Europe due to adverse incidents with a similar model, Bloomberg reported Monday.
What Happened: The hybrid vehicle’s production was slated to start in spring but was postponed to summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the manufacturing is being moved to next year, according to Bloomberg.
The postponement reportedly takes place as the Detroit-based automaker reviews its European model Kuga SUV, which shares parts with the Escape — including battery and engine.
“We’re moving production to next year while we investigate what happened to the Kuga in Europe,” a company spokesperson told Bloomberg, adding that no such vehicle had been sold in the United States.
Another spokesperson revealed that there have been seven vehicle fires in Europe, which triggered a recall of 20,500 Kuga models and the issue can take months to resolve.
The problem is related to venting heat from the vehicle’s batteries, as per the spokesperson.
Why It Matters: The delay takes place as U.S. sales of small SUVs have been lackluster, dropping 23% in the third quarter and 32% for the year, noted Bloomberg.
Ford has a $11.5 billion strategy to electrify its offerings and plug-in hybrids reportedly make up an important chunk of the plan.
Price Action: Ford shares closed nearly 1.2% higher at $7.76 on Monday and rose 0.13% in the after-hours session.