A putative class action lawsuit was filed against Ford Motor Co. last month in a California federal court. The filing came after Ford recalled more than 402,000 Transit vans because of a defective driveshaft component. The recall issued in late June affects 2015, 2016 and 2017 models of Transit vans. The consumers’ complaint claims that Ford knew that the vans have a defect in the “flex disc” (a type of rubber joint that connects the transmission to the driveshaft) that can cause vehicle damage and pose a safety risk. The complaint states:
Yet despite this knowledge, Ford failed to disclose and actively concealed the defect from class members and the public, and continued to market and advertise the class vehicles as ‘tough,’ ‘safe,’ ‘durable’ vehicles ‘designed to do its job all day, every day and for many years to come,’ which they are not,” the complaint says. The affected vehicles are often used by small companies like home maintenance companies, daycares and patient transport services.
The recall announcement by Ford said the flex disc cracks after about 30,000 miles. That can possibly causing the driveshaft to separate from the transmission. The cracking can result in a loss of power while driving or the unintended movement of parked vehicles not anchored by a parking brake. The recall information says such separation can also damage surrounding components, including brakes and fuel lines. The recall will cost Ford an estimated $142 million in repairs.
The complaint claims that Ford knew about the defect as early as 2014 as a result of vehicle evaluations and testing, field data, replacement part sales data and consumer complaints made directly to Ford and collected by federal regulators at the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The suit also claims Ford’s recall notice doesn’t indicate that Ford has a permanent fix for the defect. Vehicle owners are told they should repair the disc every 30,000 miles. There is no plan to reimburse buyers like All Care for lost business opportunities from disc-related repairs.
Claims include breach of express warranty and breach of implied warranty as well as claims brought under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, unjust enrichment, fraud by concealment and violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law. The proposed class includes anyone who leased or purchased a 2015-2017 Transit in California for purposes other than personal or household use.
The Plaintiffs are represented by Jonathan D. Selbin, Annika K. Martin and Mark P. Chalos of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP; Marc Godino of Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP; and Jasper Ward of Jones Ward PLC. The case is All Care Transport LLC et al. v. Ford Motor Company, (case number 5:17-cv-01390) in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
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