Ford gets dinged again for Bridgestone debacle, lawyers make out like bandits

By now everyone knows the story about Bridgestone's massive recall of tires that were used as original equipment on Ford Explorers from 1991 to 2001. The faulty tires had been linked to some fatal crashes that were caused by either blowouts or the tread separating from the tires. Many people who own Explorers from this period were miffed that the value of their SUVs dropped solely on account of Bridgestone's mistake, so they did what most Americans do when they're angry: they sued Ford. Yesterday a judge in the Sacramento Country Superior Court approved a settlement for this class-action lawsuit on behalf of approximately 800,000 Explorer owners that will cost Ford a sizable chunk of change, but it's not the Explorer owners who got the most money. As part of the settlement, Ford has agreed to hand out discount certificates valid for one year that these plaintiffs can apply to the purchase or lease of a FoMoCo product.

The discounts are worth $500 if applied to a new Explorer, and $300 if applied to any other Ford, Lincoln or Mercury product. The discounts would cost the Dearborn-based automaker about $400 million if every plaintiff went out and bought a brand new Explorer within the next year, though we bet Ford's counting on that scenario being highly unlikely. The lawyers that fought the class-action lawsuit, however, will receive $25 million from Ford for their trouble. We bet none of them will go out and buy a new Explorer with that money.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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