• Nov 29, 2007
FoMoCo is on the brink of settling a class-action lawsuit brought by owners claiming that Ford's Explorer was prone to rolling over. The settlement covers approximately one million people in California, Connecticut, Illinois and Texas who've owned 1991 through 2001 Explorers.
Ford's spokesperson, Kristen Kinley, believes that "the settlement is fair and reasonable," but declined to given an estimate of how much Ford would be shilling out to slighted owners. However, vouchers are expected to be issued to owners in the four states that would allow them to put $500 towards a new Explorer or $300 for another Ford, Lincoln or Mercury product.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 23 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yes, to some extent you can "idiot-proof" stuff, but in the end, idiots will prevail. All of the things being done to make driving safer (e.g., stability control, adaptive cruise control, emergency brake assist, lighted lane markings, etc.) are great for those who think and have some level of driving skill. But every day, I see idiots driving too fast for conditions, being cautious when they don't need to be, and foolhardy when caution is actually called for. Mandated safety measures may protect some from themselves, but many will just step up their foolhardy, empty-headed risk-taking.

      The Explorer was no worse than any other contemporary SUV. Lots of people bought them thinking sitting up high was "safer," and that 4WD allowed them to blithely sail along when lesser vehicles were slowing down for the conditions.

      It is just sad how unskilled and oblivious American drivers are, even while assessing themselves as good drivers. Our money grubbing litigiousness just adds another insult.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford cut corners to save money and make more profit. That's why they ran into this problem. For those who are placing the blame on the driver, you have to design a car so that any idiot can drive it safely. If you don't then this is what happens. As for the settlement, it all goes to the lawyers as always ... the amount that actually will get to the plaintiffs' hands is worth less than the average rebate already on a Ford product.
      • 7 Years Ago
      As with any Class-action litigation, the lawyers take home the larger cut of the pie. There are teams of lawyers who wait like snakes to get involved in these cases. They especially favor car cases because that's where the deep pockets are.

      Three and five hundred dollar coupons, indeed; what a lousy settlement. The settlement should be for direct cash to the parties and not predicated on buying a new car, where the coupon cost can be offset by increasing the price.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Exactly. Class action suit are all about the attorneys getting a Pot O' Gold while the "class" gets a coupon. The only interesting thing in this settlement is how much plunder the lawyers got from Ford.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The head of the NHTSA is Nicole Nason, a Bush appointee and former DOT lobbyist. She's in charge of implementing safety measures that she was previously paid by the auto industry to oppose. If the NHTSA said it wasn't Ford's fault, now you know why.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is a TERRIBLE 'settlement'. It amounts to nothing more than an incentive to buy another car.

      Proof again that the only people that benefit from a class action law suit are the lawyers, and in this case the defendant as well.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd like to start a class action lawsuit against BP, Shell, and the rest for charging $1 for 2 minutes of air.

      Maybe that is another reason why people don't check thier tires. You have to pay a ridiculous ammount of money to fill up you tires. Most of the time the compressor doesn't even run long enough to fill 2 tires properly.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is a pretty hilarious settlement since the real winners are the lawyers here. By issuing 1 million "$500" vouchers, the settlement will now be a "$500 million dollar" settlement, most likely letting the lawyers get a massive cash payout (since they get paid a percentage of the supposed cash value of the settlement). Which is also probably why the lawyers agreed to this settlement, since it lets them get paid.

      Of course this is also how most class action lawsuits tend to end, with the lawyers basically agreeing on a settlement that just benefits the company that got sued while they cash in. Ugh, disgusting.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Guess sometimes people just don't realize that an SUV, no matter how many electronic stability gadgets it has, will never behave as a car. Then they expect to make a sudden turn and the vehicle just take it like a breeze...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I just wish people wouldn't drive SUVs (regardless of make) like they're cars. If idiots could do that we wouldn't still be reading about this fiasco.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow I'm sure Ford has learned there lesson from this ruling. You get $500 if you are willing to buy another rolling death trap or $300 if you want to buy some other piece of sh*t. Either way Ford sells another car. I hardly see how this is punishment.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The current Explorer doesn't have the same problem. Most products in Ford's lineup are on par quality wise with any other product from any other manufacturer, so I don't see your point.
        • 7 Years Ago
        it was both Ford and Firestone's fault. As much as it was Chevrolet's and other SUVs that were not compatible with the tires. Ford just got the rap for it because at the time, Explorers were the most popular SUVs and the people deserved to know.
        And yes, I agree, poor judgement from the drivers was also a large factor; but automobiles, especially SUVs and especially in AMERICA (im American too so don't get offended) need to be a little more "Idiot-proof." All in all even though Ford and Firestone lost tons of money i think the whole debacle caused a major turning point in automotive safety, which is a very good thing.

        • 7 Years Ago
        What about Ford's request to dealers to inflate tires to 26psi (the lowest recommendation on the tire - but Firestone suggested 35psi) - this was by far the biggest contributor to the premature wear and excess heat causing the tread seperation? Ford also had a big hand in the design and cost of the Firestone Wilderness ATX tires they put on the Explorer. The intent was to get the highest MPG in their SUV - so both designed an economy car tire for a 4,500lb SUV. Ford wanted to pay so little for it that Firestone gave them what they paid for. The cheapest tire they could make money on.

        Fact is the Explorer had a stability problem b/c they too quickly converted a Pickup to an SUV without proper testing. In fact the early models had a major stability problem b/c of the much higher center of gravity. In Venezuela Ford recalled the Explorer (same exact configuration as in the US) to revise the rear suspension more towards the Australian spec all b/c of rollover problems. Ford didn't do it in the US b/c there were millions of Explorers on the road. Then add to the market strategy to sell to families and soccer moms who wanted to an image of being outdoorsy. The safety labels that Ford put on the Explorer to boot.

        To read more check out this Website. There is a list of leaked confidential internal Ford memos from former engineers. http://www.fordexplorerrollover.com/history/Default.cfm
        • 7 Years Ago
        Because according to NHTSA it wasn't Ford's fault...
        • 7 Years Ago
        The problem wasn't the Explorer. The problem was 1) bad tires and 2) idiots driving very fast in hot weather with under-inflated tires.
        • 7 Years Ago

        NHTSA actually said this? Please link me!
        • 7 Years Ago
        How about placing some of the blame on the non-maintaining assholes with no common sense or driving ability?
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