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Lawsuit alleges acceleration problem in Ford vehicles

A lawsuit filed against Ford Motor Co. alleges that several Ford and Lincoln vehicles manufactured between 2002 and 2010 are subject to unintentional acceleration and also lack "adequate fail-safe systems" to prevent crashes.

The suit filed Thursday in federal court in West Virginia seeks class-action status on behalf of consumers in 14 states, including Florida.

It describes situations in which Ford's electronic throttle system allegedly caused vehicles to accelerate unexpectedly, leaving drivers unable to stop. It does not include any claims of wrongful death or personal injury.

Plaintiffs are seeking compensation for an alleged loss of vehicle value, arguing that they were forced to pay too much for cars with defects.

The lawsuit also alleges that Ford knew about the alleged defect and concealed the problem from consumers.

"We allege that Ford knew about this problem and chose to put its own profits ahead of customer safety," said Adam Levitt, a partner and head of the consumer-practice group at Grant and Eisenhofer, the Chicago law firm that filed the complaint.

Levitt added that "it's clear from the number of affected vehicles that this is a widespread problem that goes across multiple models and years and impacts a substantial portion of the American driving public."

Ford responded to the lawsuit with a statement indicating that it had already worked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address what it called rare instances that could result in throttle problems:

"NHTSA's work is far more scientific and trustworthy than work done by personal injury lawyers and their paid experts," Ford said in its statement.

"In rare situations, vehicle factors, such as floor mats or broken mechanical components, can interfere with proper throttle operation," the Ford statement added, "and manufacturers have addressed these rare events in field service actions."

The suit is similar to one brought against Toyota Motor Corp. In February, Toyota reached a $29 million settlement over claims of sudden acceleration with attorneys general from 29 states and one U.S. territory.

That agreement came after Toyota announced a record-setting $1.1 billion settlement of hundreds of class-action claims alleging that the automaker's actions involving an acceleration problem had damaged the value of consumers' vehicles.

Affected vehicles

These are the vehicles named in the Ford lawsuit and their model years:

Ford vehicles: 2005-2007 Five Hundred; 2005-2009 Crown Victoria; 2005-2010 Econoline; 2007-2010 Edge; 2009-2010 Escape; 2005-2010 Escape HEV; 2005-2010 Expedition; 2004-2010 Explorer; 2007-2010 Explorer Sport Trac; 2004-2010 F-Series; 2009-2010 Flex; 2008-2010 Focus; 2005-2007 Freestyle; 2006-2010 Fusion; 2005-2010 Mustang; 2008-2010 Taurus; 2008-2009 Taurus X; 2002-2005 Thunderbird; and 2010 Transit Connect.

Lincoln vehicles: 2003-2006 LS; 2006-2008 Mark LT; 2009-2010 MKS; 2010 MKT; 2007-2010 MKX; 2006-2010 MKZ; 2005-2009 Town Car; and 2006-2010 Zephyr.

Mercury vehicles: 2002-2005 Cougar (XR7); 2005-2009 Grand Marquis; 2009-2010 Mariner; 2005-2010 Mariner HEV; 2006-2010 Milan; 2005-2007 Montego; 2004-2010 Mountaineer; and 2008-2010 Sable.

Lawsuit alleges acceleration problem in Ford vehicles 03/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 29, 2013 9:46pm]
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