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DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co is recalling about 20,000 new vehicles in North America, mainly its heavy duty pickup trucks, due to the chance that an electrical short could cause a fire, Ford and U.S. federal regulators said on Thursday.
Ford will inform owners of its F-series pickups and small sports utility vehicles Edge and Lincoln MKX of the potential problem by January 10, according to a filing with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
About 15,000 of the affected vehicles were sold in the United States, and most of the rest in Canada, said Wes Sherwood, Ford spokesman.
Sherwood said the automaker is not aware of any injuries, crashes or fires resulting from the issue.
Body control modules made by Lear Corp at a plant in Mexico produced over a six-day period may cause an electrical short, Ford told NHTSA in a filing.
The same filing said that Lear "found that a newly hired operator failed to properly clean a soldering machine during four production shifts" over six days in late October.
Sherwood said the suspect vehicles were assembled at Ford plants between late October and mid-November.
"If an electrical short develops, an overheating condition may occur" and result in a vehicle fire, the NHTSA filing said.
Ford discovered the problem when two F-150 pickups had fires in mid-November and early December at a Dearborn, Michigan assembly plant before being shipped, it told NHTSA.
"Ford is not aware of any reports for related fires on vehicles in service," the automaker told NHTSA.
Of the nearly 20,000 vehicles affected, 13,200 are Super Duty F-Series trucks, which are the F-250, the F-350 and the F-450 models.
Some 476 F-150 pickup trucks were affected. That model is the biggest selling vehicle in North America.
About 6,200 Edge and MKX models are affected, Sherwood said.
Edge and MKX are also known as crossover vehicles because they are built on a car platform rather than a truck platform as are larger SUVs.
Ford dealers are to inspect recalled vehicles and if necessary replace body control modules at no consumer cost. Sherwood said the repair time is relatively short, but he did not specify how long each repair will take or how much repairs will cost the automaker.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Derek Caney, Dave Zimmerman, Phil Berlowitz)