My 1996 Cartier will only release automatically in Neutral or Drive, 2 or 1. The car backs up fine with the Parking Brake ON I might add.I think you have a malfunction, the parking brake should automatically release in R and D. Here is what Ford says: "When the parking brake is set and the transmission is shifted into REVERSE or DRIVE, the gearshift lever position switch closes. The instrument cluster module energizes the electronic parking brake release motor. Once the parking brake is released, the parking brake warning indicator switch opens and releases the actuator. The solenoid is energized only when both the parking brake warning indicator switch and the gearshift lever position switch are closed with the brake pedal applied."
Sounds like another trip to your dealer.
I believe that is the design as well and if it disengages in R or N, then it's malfunctioning.My '01 Exec only disengages parking brake when I put my car in forward gear, figured it was designed that way, never bothered to look it up (probably because my 2000 Taurus functioned the same way.) I always use my parking brake and would advise anyone to do so, was told years ago by a transmission specialist it's much better for the long term life of the transmission.