Explorer Rollovers Could Cost Ford Billions

explorer rollovers could cost ford billions

As if Ford wasn't losing enough money, AP reports [via Forbes ] the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today ordered Ford to pay a California woman $82.6m for injuries sustained when her Ford Explorer rolled over in 2002. A jury had originally awarded the plaintiff $369m. Like street cocaine, that number has been cut several times in course of the case. Ford had appealed the verdict all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the Explorer met all federal safety standards. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the 4th Circuit to determine whether or not their ruling was in line with a previous determination which overturned nearly $80m in damages awarded in a tobacco lawsuit. Today's decision blesses the plaintiff with $55m in punitive damages. The legal point: federal safety standards are not enough to shield automakers from legal liability. The scary bit: class action lawsuits will now fall like rain upon Ford's head. The Blue Oval Boyz have yet to publicly comment on the case, probably as they're busy talking to their insurance agent and trying to figure out what they're going to sell next.

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  • Offroadinfrontier Offroadinfrontier on Mar 12, 2008

    My opinion on the tires - safety should NEVER be sacrificed to those extremes for a bit more comfort. I've always believed that a car should only be comfortable as long as it doesn't significantly take away from handling/safety. For reference, I drove a friend's '96 Cadillac and almost had a heart attack - while it was very comfortable, I'll never drive one again. I'd rather have bruised kidneys on a daily basis if it means that I can safely navigate my car away from danger; cars should respond to steering wheel input by turning the WHEELS, not by inducing nauseating body roll - or flipping into a ditch.

  • Johnster Johnster on Mar 13, 2008
    BKW: 1950 Chrysler Imperials had a type of disc brake, but it was one year only, and the system used was unique. I can’t recall what the system was, or how it worked. Wikipedia reports that "Chrysler's Imperial offered a type of disc brake from 1949 through 1953, though in this instance they were enclosed with dual internal-expanding, full-circle pressure plates." The Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1946-1975 notes that the 1949 Chrysler Imperials came with "cycle bonded brake linings" but I'm not sure if those are related to disc brakes. Wikipedia goes on to report "Reliable modern disc brakes were developed in the UK by Dunlop and first appeared in 1953 on the Jaguar C-Type racing car. The Citroën DS of 1955, with powered inboard front disc brakes, and the 1956 Triumph TR3 were the first European production cars to feature modern disc brakes. The next American production cars to be fitted with disc brakes were the 1963 Studebaker Avanti (optional on other Studebaker models), standard equipment on the 1965 Rambler Marlin (optional on other AMC models), and the 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (C2)."

  • BKW BKW on Mar 13, 2008

    Johnster: I have that same Standard Catalog, and the pre war volume, so I could of (should of) looked up the info. The only Chisler I ever saw those brakes on, in person, was a 1950 Imperial.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Mar 13, 2008

    ...The Citroën DS of 1955, with powered inboard front disc brakes, and the 1956 Triumph TR3... Having blown three very worn CV joints over the years, I prefer to have the brakes right out there with the wheels... (grin!) Citroen had to have the least unsprung weight of any brand vehicle! Drove an Alfra Romeo Alfetta many times in Italy and it had inboard rear brakes. Had to replace a caliper that froze up. Wondered if it was heat from not being out near the wheel and presumably nearer the airflow or if it was the car's generally miserable lack of TLC by it's owners over the years. Fun car to drove. Wonderful engine. Lots of rust too...

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