US:Ford agrees to settlement for intake manifolds
Ford agrees to settlement for intake manifolds
BY MARGARET CRONIN FISK and KAREN GULLO
Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, agreed to settle customer lawsuits over alleged defects in the intake manifolds of as many as 2 million vehicles.
Under the settlement, filed late Thursday in federal court in Oakland, Calif., Ford will pay owners of some Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Cars and Ford Crown Victorias at least $735 to reimburse them for repairs made on faulty manifolds, which route air to an engine's cylinders.
Car owners claim in a class action that Ford installed plastic intake manifolds that were prone to cracking and causing coolant leaks on some 1996 to 2001 models. The settlement could cost Ford as much as $375 million if every customer files a claim, said customer attorney Richard Dorman.
"According to Ford's own documents, about 450,000 to 500,000 manifolds in the class members' vehicles have failed," said Dorman, a lawyer with Cunningham, Bounds, Yance, Crowder & Brown in Mobile, Ala.
Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said this claim on the number of manifold failures is grossly inflated and wouldn't comment on the possible cost to Ford. She said in an e-mailed statement that it would be inappropriate to comment on a class settlement that is not final.
Ford doesn't admit liability by settling the lawsuit.
"Although we believe this class action was without merit, we are pleased that we were able to negotiate a settlement that, if approved, will provide additional value to our customers," Vokes said.
Under the agreement, Ford will reimburse consumers with receipts for repairs related to the intake manifold. The Dearborn-based company will also pay $735 to anyone without receipts who verifies with a company dealership that the repair was made, the agreement said.
Ford will also extend the life of warranties of customers who haven't had manifold failures, according to the agreement. This could cost Ford additional money to replace manifolds in the future, Dorman said.
Ford will pay the customers' attorneys $4.5 million and will pay for notifying car owners about the settlement. The settlement is subject to court approval.
The settlement covers 1996 through 2001 models of the Mercury Grand Marquis, Lincoln Town Car and Ford Crown Victoria, as well as certain Mercury Cougars, Ford Thunderbirds and Mustangs built before 2002.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....