Ford has announced two more recalls for its fault-plagued US market Focus that affect about 572,795 model year 2000 and 2001 cars.


One recall involves a bolt in the front suspension assembly that could come loose and cause noise, vibration or even separation of the ball joint.


The second affects Zetec engine cars in which battery cable routing could result in smoke, wire melting or an under-bonnet fire.


No-cost dealer repairs will involve tightening or replacement of parts of the lower control arm or re-routing or replacement of battery cables.


Ford is also extending a recall on 2000 and 2001 North American Focus models for rear wheel bearing seal checks.


This extends an earlier recall that covered 21 US states and six Canadian provinces where corrosion can be a problem.


Customers living outside of those original areas will now be asked to take their cars back to dealers for new seals.


Putting the best possible spin on the latest recall for its problem-plagued small car, Ford said in a statement that it has worked to improve Focus reliability and quality.


“Overall ‘things gone wrong’ as reported by our Focus customers are down more than 35%,” the company said.


“The number of customer-initiated warranty repairs is down more than 40% since the Focus’ US launch in fall [autumn] 1999. Specific areas of customer concerns have improved by between 40 and 65%.”


Ford recently introduced five-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty coverage for 2003 models which includes full roadside assistance coverage on top of the standard three-year/36,000 mile and five-year anti-corrosion warranties common to all its products.


Despite the much-publicised recalls, the Focus still sells strongly for a car aged three that is little changed since launch.


For 2002 to the end of October, the Focus was the fifth-largest selling car in the US with 211,126 sales, according to WardsAuto.com, behind the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Taurus and Honda Civic.