Texas Instruments switches caused Ford vehicles built over two decades to catch fire, becoming a nightmare for Ford. From 1996 to 2009, Ford was forced to recall cars and trucks between model years 1991 and 2004. The vehicles operated with faulty cruise control deactivation switches that could short out and ignite. The total recalled vehicles reached 14.9 million vehicles.
The recurring problem wasn't good for public perceptions of Ford's quality. The press unofficially dubbed the Ford Explorer, the "Ford Exploder."
"(Owners) would have their nice Lincoln or Mercury parked in their garage, and the thing would catch fire in the middle of the night," says auto safety expert Byron Bloch.