Law firm representing owners of recalled Ford Escape, Maverick or Lincoln Corsair hybrids calls Ford’s defect remedy “both irresponsible and ineffectual”
A new class-action lawsuit aimed at Ford accuses the automaker of knowingly mishandling a purported “fix” for a defect causing underhood fires, localized melting of components or smoke in more than 100,000 recalled hybrid Ford Escape, Maverick and Lincoln Corsair vehicles, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.
According to the lawsuit, Ford’s official response for the defect – which has led to at least 23 reported instances of smoke, ignition and fire – has been to drill holes in the under-engine shield and to remove four blinds from the active grille shutter system. Ford’s response does nothing to address the manufacturing defect – which can cause the engine to leak flammable fluids and vapors – the lawsuit says, and creates an environmental hazard, setting the stage for future property damage and possible injury.
If you purchased or leased a 2020-2022 Ford Escape, 2022 Ford Maverick or 2021-2022 Lincoln Corsair, contact Hagens Berman to find out more about this issue and your consumer rights against Ford.
“Ford admits that the Fire Defect Vehicles suffer from engine manufacturing issues that can cause engine failures involving engine block or oil pan breach. But Ford’s fix is wholly silent as to this admittedly affected component,” the lawsuit states. “Ford leaves the engines exactly as they are and instead drills holes into the under-engine shield and removes blinds from the active grille shutter to prevent oil and gas from pooling in the car. This ‘fix’ does not live up to its name because the engines in the Fire Defect Vehicles may still leak flammable fluids and vapors—a problem Ford does not address.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and stems from a defect affecting Ford’s 2.5-liter hybrid electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle engines that can cause engine oil and fuel vapor to accumulate near ignition sources, resulting in underhood smoke and fires.
Attorneys say that instead of meaningfully fixing the defect, Ford has chosen instead to drill holes into the under-engine shield, allowing any pooled fluids or vapors to leak out. Ford’s meager response comes even though the affected vehicles are nearly all still covered under Ford’s new vehicle and powertrain warranties.
“Ford’s fix is essentially rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” said Steve Berman, Hagens Berman co-founder and managing partner. “While drivers, their families and others on the road attend to the real crisis of a potential vehicle fire due to this manufacturing defect, Ford’s solution does nothing to address the issue at hand and will mean an unknowable amount of engine fluids will be spilled onto roads, leaching into groundwater and soil.”
What Ford Knew
According to the suit, Ford puts its vehicles through a Total Durability Cycle, described by Ford as “sped-up evaluation runs around the clock, day and night, to simulate 10 years, or 240,000km, of severe customer usage in just a few weeks.”
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents reveal that an issue pertaining to underhood fires was brought to Ford’s Critical Concern Review Group for review on May 4, 2022. During the Review Group’s analysis from May 4 through June 8, 2022, the Group included data from 19 field reports of underhood fire or smoke pertaining to the affected hybrids. Ford’s investigation continued up until the recall and uncovered four more reports of underhood smoke or fires in the affected vehicles, according to the lawsuit. Attorneys say Ford has yet to address these manufacturing issues.
“We find Ford’s response to this frightening issue to be both irresponsible and ineffectual,” Berman said.
The lawsuit says owners are left with vehicles that may still leak highly flammable oil if their engines succumb to the manufacturing issues identified.
Not as Advertised
The lawsuit details multiple advertisements for the affected Ford Escape, Maverick and Lincoln Corsair hybrids in which Ford touts the family-friendly qualities of the vehicles, their reliability and the confidence owners can have in their safety and other features.
The lawsuit’s named plaintiff representing the class of consumers uses the vehicle to take his two children to school and to run errands, and the California father says at no point did Ford or its agents or representatives disclose the defect to him before he purchased his Ford Maverick.
The lawsuit seeks damages and a repair, and brings claims of warranty violation, fraudulent concealment, unjust enrichment and violations of state consumer protection laws based on Ford’s omissions regarding the defect and its failure to act quickly in disclosing and providing a remedy.
Hagens Berman has brought dozens of class-action lawsuits against automakers, including an additional class action filed against Ford in July 2022 for spontaneous fires in its luxury SUVs. Hagens Berman has helped successfully secure the largest automotive settlements in history.
Hagens Berman is a global plaintiffs’ rights complex litigation law firm with a tenacious drive for achieving real results for those harmed by corporate negligence and fraud. Since its founding in 1993, the firm’s determination has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.