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Mass. included in Ford van recall

Ford is recalling about 196,500 of its 2004-07 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans to fix a corrosion problem that prevents the fold-down third-row seats from locking safely into place, Kelli Felker, a spokeswoman for the automaker, said Wednesday.

In a telephone interview, Felker said an additional 33,500 vehicles were being recalled outside the United States, almost all of them in Canada.

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However, Ford is recalling only vehicles sold or registered in 20 salt-belt states, including Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

The other states are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

That’s called a regional recall, and some consumer advocates, like the Center for Auto Safety, have long complained that such recalls serve to save automakers money and might — in a mobile society — fail to repair some vehicles. Automakers have defended them as practical and safe.

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