Ford issued the recall following problems in the restraints control module, a key part of its safety system that takes information from front crash sensors and other sensors and activates air bags and seat-belt pretensioners.
In the vehicles being recalled, the module can experience a short circuit, which can prevent air bags and other protections from functioning.
Ford said it was not aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from the glitch.
Affected vehicles include the 2013-14 Ford C-MAX, Fusion, Escape and Lincoln MKZ vehicles in model years 2013 and 2014.
The Ford recall comes on the heels of a major scandal at General Motors over an ignition-switch problem that can shut down the air bag system while a car is in motion. GM has recalled 2.6 million older-model cars and acknowledged at least 21 fatalities in accidents related to the problem.
In midday trade, Ford shares rose 0.7 per cent to USD 16.31.