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The worldwide recall affects the 2001 through 2004 model years that are powered by 3-liter V-6 engines with cruise control. It comes just more than a week after U.S. safety regulators began investigating the small SUVs, which are called Mavericks in Europe.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 68 complaints about the problem, including 13 crashes, nine injuries and one death. A teenage girl died when an Escape crashed in Arizona in January.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports