Ford Motor Co., announced a recall of 1.2 million vehicles including trucks and Sport Utility Vans (SUV) which had the cruise control feature over concerns that they could catch fire.

Federal officials along with the Michigan-based company’s employees conducted intensive research that identified that even when the driver removed the driver’s key, the cruise control switches could cause a fire to ignite.

“Ford and engineers at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration traced the problem to seals in the cruise-control deactivation switch that could fail, allowing brake fluid to leak into the switch and causing it to overheat over time,” stated a media release.

The recall was unwelcome news for Ford. The 103-year-old company has recently announced a profit downgrade due to higher pension costs and lower consumer demand for its vehicles. The recall had the possibility of raising questions about the quality of Ford motor vehicles. Shares of Ford closed at $6.86 or $0.10 down from the opening price.

Going into more detail about the mechanical fault the firm believed it was the repeated high vacuum events in the engine process.

“It is the repeated high vacuum events that may cause some speed control deactivation switch seals to become more susceptible to failure, thus allowing brake fluid to pass through the seal to the electrical side of the switch. Brake fluid leaks into the switch can cause it to corrode and possibly overheat. The high vacuum events combined with the switch orientation increase the potential for a fire in these vehicles.”

Ford said the new recall covers 1998 Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers, 1994 through 2002 F-250 to F-550 Super Duty pickups, 2000 through 2002 Ford Excursions, 1994-1996 Econoline vans, and 1996-2002 E-450 vans. Letters to owners explaining the recall will be mailed next week.