Vehicle safety regulators in the United States have upgraded their investigation into reports of engine compartment fires in Ford’s popular Focus compact car, one of six defect investigations under way on the model, Reuters reported.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) earlier this month it upgraded its probe, Reuters said, covering all 690,000 Focus models Ford has sold in the United States since 2000.

Reuters said that the NHTSA opened an investigation in March after receiving seven complaints of engine compartment fires that started around the battery.

NHTSA said it has since had two more complaints, and Ford told the agency it had received 61 similar complaints and 286 warranty claims relating to fire, scorched parts or a burning odour, Reuters added.
Reuters said the Focus has been the target of nine safety recalls by Ford and NHTSA has five other defect investigations on the vehicle.

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