Dozens of Ford customers in 14 states have filed a class action lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. alleging its vehicles accelerate unintentionally and suddenly without any way to stop them.
The Ford acceleration class action lawsuit, filed Thursday in West Virginia federal court, takes aim at approximately 30 Ford models from 2002 to 2010 — including the Ford Mustang, Ford F-Series pickup trucks, Mercury Cougar, Lincoln Town Car and Ford Explorer — that contain an alleged design defect that allows the electronic throttle system in the cars to take control of the accelerator from the driver. Plaintiffs note that Ford installed a brake override system in cars manufactured after 2010, but did not install this safety measure in older Ford models.
Plaintiffs say Ford deliberately hid the issue from buyers and “could have and should have prevented dangers presented by these foreseeable incidents by including a [brake-override safety feature].” As a result, customers were not only put in danger but also bought and leased vehicles that aren’t worth as much as they paid, the class action lawsuit says.
The Ford class action lawsuit is reminiscent of those filed against Toyota after the Japanese automaker recalled millions of vehicles over reports of sudden, unintended acceleration. The cases were consolidated in 2010 and have slowly made their way through the court. In February, a federal judge preliminarily approved a $1 billion class action lawsuit settlement to compensate certain Toyota, Scion and Lexus owners and lessees affected by the vehicles’ defective electronic throttle control systems.
The Ford unintended acceleration claims are the latest blow for the company, which has battled several class action lawsuits over alleged engine defects. In January, six consumers filed a class action lawsuit claiming Ford knowingly sold certain 2005-2012 vehicles, including the Ford 150 and Lincoln Navigator, with engine defects that caused performance and safety issues. One month later, U.S. consumers who purchased or leased a model year 2003-2007 Ford vehicle equipped with a diesel engine received notices of a class action settlement resolving claims the engines are defective and plagued with problems.
Plaintiffs in the Ford Unintended Acceleration Class Action Lawsuit are seeking compensation from Ford for the loss of their vehicle value. The case is Belville v. Ford Motor Co., Case No. 12-cv-06529, U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia (Huntington.)
The Ford brand vehicles listed in the class action lawsuit are:
2005-2007 Five Hundred
2005-2009 Crown Victoria
2009-2010 Escape and 2005-2010 Escape hybrid
2004-2010 Explorer and 2007-2010 Explorer Sport Trac
2008-2009 Taurus X
2010 Transit Connect
Ford Lincoln vehicles:
2006-2008 Mark LT
2005-2009 Town Car
Ford Mercury vehicles:
2002-2005 Cougar (XR7)
2005-2009 Grand Marquis
2009-2010 Mariner and 2005-2010 Mariner hybrid
UPDATE 1: A new Ford unintended acceleration class action lawsuit has been filed. Plaintiffs from both cases want the class actions combined.
Update 2: A federal judge refused to dismiss the Ford class action lawsuit on March 31, 2014, but did trim several claims.
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