By on November 29, 2007

wor-explorer.jpgNow that's what I call a marketing! The Associated Press reports that Ford has settled a four-state class action lawsuit regarding the rollover dangers inherent in Ford Explorers sold from 1991 to 2001. As part of the deal, Ford has agreed to provide plaintiffs with a $300 voucher that can be applied to the purchase of any Ford, Lincoln or Mercury product; or a $500 voucher for a new Explorer. (Needless to say, the vouchers are transferable to anyone living in the same state as the plaintiff.) The settlement also requires Ford to distribute information about SUV rollover dangers and to limit safety claims in its advertising (our SUVs are safe-ish?). Safety campaigners are spinning the deal as a major win for consumer rights, albeit in their own special way. "The $300 or $500 vouchers should be enough to cover the cost of optional electronic stability control systems on new vehicles," pronounced consumer advocate Rosemary Shahan of California-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, blissfully unaware that Ford's stability control system is now standard on the Ford Explorer, SportTrac, Expedition, Edge, Escape; the Mercury Mountaineer and Mariner; and the Lincoln Navigator and MKX. 

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16 Comments on “Ford Settles Rollover Suit with Gift Vouchers...”


  • avatar
    quasimondo

    See, I would’ve though the vouchers would go toward the purchase of better tires.

    But I guess that would be a moot point if you’ve already rolled your Explorer.

  • avatar
    Hippo

    They could have given a tire pressure gauge and a driver ed voucher to each one of the nimrods and saved on legal fees.

  • avatar

    That is some victory for consumer rights. I’m going to do a snoopy dance right away!

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I’m confused who won this lawsuit Ford or the customers, because it looks like Ford got the better end of the deal.

  • avatar
    radimus

    Vouchers for proper driving lessons would have been more appropriate.

  • avatar
    210delray

    What’s learned in “proper” driving lessons goes out the window when the cell phone rings!

  • avatar
    dean

    Helluva victory. Chump change, conditional on spending tens of thousands on a new vehicle.

  • avatar
    50merc

    It’s a safe bet that the lawyers who brought the suits will get more than $300 vouchers.

  • avatar
    zenith

    Tires in the 1970s were crap.

    I drove a ’72 F100 and a ’77 F150 during that era and had more flats in a given 6 month period back then than I’ve had in the past 10 years.

    Several of these tire incidents involved tires that self-destructed while I travelled at 70mph with full loads in the back.

    Keep a cool head, get off the gas, coast to a stop like you don’t even have brakes, and its a piece of cake to handle even a tall, tippy vehicle on OEM-quality bias-ply tires with 20K miles on them. The greatest danger is changing the tire on an Interstate shoulder.

    These Explorer rollovers, in vehicles with “bad” tires that were nonetheless far better than the “premium” tires of 30 years ago, were primarily their drivers’ fault.

  • avatar
    sk8inkid

    I can’t believe in this day in age stability control isn’t standard.
    I’m sure the people who are worried about their Ford tipping over are very comforted about the voucher towards new vehicle purchase. Seriously, WTF Ford. Perhaps it would have been a better PR move to upgrade everyone’s existing vehicle to stability control. But bottom line means bottom line when you’re struggling I guess. Can’t say that ain’t a catch 22 though!!!!!

  • avatar
    EEGeek

    To Redbarchetta: The lawyers won. They are almost invariably the only winners in class action lawsuits.

  • avatar

    +1 for quasimondo. So how much money did Ford save with those Traction “B” Temperature “C” tires?

    IIRC, Ford did the same voucher thing (or a gift like a cell phone) for the class action lawsuit (circa 1993) on the top-heavier Bronco II.

  • avatar
    Cavendel

    50merc :

    It’s a safe bet that the lawyers who brought the suits will get more than $300 vouchers.

    Ha ha, nice.

    They get a cut don’t they? 20% of every voucher handed out?

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    class action lawsuit (circa 1993) on the top-heavier Bronco II.

    I kid in my high school was killed in one of those things in 1992 when he rolled it half a dozen times, seriously injuring 2 other passengers in the car too. He wasn’t wearing his seat belt thou and I think the 2 that survived were wearing them.

    The lawyers always make out like bandits on both sides, just the winner gets more of the treasure.

  • avatar
    starlightmica

    Sajeev:

    Let’s say, $10/tire x 4 tires, x 400,000+ vehicles x 5 years (2nd gen Explorer until problem publicized) = at least $80 million. This was, of course, completely wiped out after the turn of events that followed.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    EEGeek beat me to it. The lawyers won. More proof (as if we needed it) that class action suits are nothing but extortion on the part of class action attorneys and that the plaintiffs (on whose behalf the whole action supposedly exists) typically get little or nothing from the deal.

    Think about it: How often do you get one of those little cards in the mail telling you you are part of a class action settlement involving some product you purchased in the past? Invariably the only “settlement” you will get is a voucher giving you a few bucks off the purchase of another product by the same company, meanwhile the lawyers walk away with millions.

    I probably get one of those cards/letters every couple of months. They usually go straight into the trash.

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