Ford Motor Co
Ford said in a filing with federal safety regulators that the seats may not provide the required strength in the event of a crash.
The recall affects 2011 model-year Ford Explorers made between July and December last year.
The redesigned Explorer, which is built in Chicago and was launched in late 2010, is an important new vehicle for Ford.
The automaker sold more than 7,300 of the new Explorers in January -- a 70 percent increase in sales compared with the SUV's older version a year earlier.
Ford said its seat supplier for the Explorer, Lear Corp
The automaker said it had identified the problem at its assembly plant in December and instructed dealers to stop selling affected vehicles until they could be repaired.
Ford said it would repair recalled vehicles under warranty for consumers who have already purchased them. Recall notices will be sent starting on February 14, Ford said.
The recall adds to the growing cost of quality and safety campaigns at the No. 2 U.S. automaker. Ford said last week that it would recall nearly 363,000 of its top-selling F-150 pickup trucks because of a defect with interior door handles.
The automaker has recalled more than 900,000 vehicles in the first weeks of 2011, more than the roughly 600,000 vehicles recalled in all of 2010.
(Editing by Maureen Bavdek)