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      Ford pays gov't $17.35M fine to settle recall spat

      Ford says it has paid the government $17.35 million to settle a dispute over allegations that Ford delayed a safety recall.

      The company says it paid the fine to avoid a lengthy dispute with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

      The agency alleged that in May of 2011, Ford knew about a safety defect in Escape SUVs from the 2001 to 2004 model years. Yet the company didn't recall the vehicles until July of 2012.

      Ford recalled nearly 485,000 Escapes with V-6 engines to fix sticking gas pedals that could cause crashes.

      The company says the case was complicated, with a low number of reported problems. Ford says it's confident in how it identifies problems quickly and responds to them.