Ford seems to have mounting troubles. Between quality control issues, recalls and its inability to keep up with customer demand, the company seems like it’s stretched thin. Now you can throw a class action suit into the mix. The Detroit Free Press reports that a class action suit against the automaker has been filed over its hybrid vehicles. Owners allege that the hybrid engines can spontaneously burst into flames.
The suit was filed in Detroit on behalf of six plaintiffs by the law firm Hagens Berman. In it, the owners allege that Ford and Lincoln vehicles equipped with the 2.5-liter hybrid engine or plug-in hybrid drivetrain can explode and cause fires. From the suit:
Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) sold Ford Escapes, Ford Mavericks, and Lincoln Corsairs equipped with faulty engines that can suffer a “block breach,” which is Ford’s euphemistic language for the engine seizing and shattering the engine rods and connecting bearings, which can be propelled through the engine block itself or the oil pan.
The owners further allege that Ford knew about the problem and issued a recall to fix it that failed to actually fix anything. Outside of the six owners, the suit says that this issue could potentially affect over 125,000 vehicles, specifically certain 2020-2023 Ford Escape and Maverick hybrids and the Lincoln Corsair hybrid.
The suit also details the dangerous fires and confusion that the plaintiffs allegedly dealt with. One owner of a 2022 Maverick Hybrid, aware of the problem, got in contact with his dealer for a fix. From Freep:
The dealer repeatedly said no parts were available to do the fix. But several months later, Dyne read that no new parts were needed to do the fix. Ford corporate intervened to help with the dealership.
Another owner of an Escape Hybrid and his wife narrowly escaped being trapped in a vehicle fire when their Escape burst into flames on the side of an Arizona highway.
On April 5, 2022, (Capps) and his wife were driving to Mesquite, Nevada, from Kingman, Arizona. They were about 40 miles north of Kingman, around 12:30 p.m.” at an intersection when they noticed the vehicle wasn’t driving properly, the lawsuit says. White smoke began billowing from under the car and Capps immediately turned around to pull off the road.
The car gave the message “zero oil pressure” and “engine shut down.” The vehicle rolled into a pull-off and it was turned off, the lawsuit says. Another vehicle pulled in and a person yelled at Capps and his wife to get out of the vehicle because it was on fire.
A spokesperson from Ford gave a statement to Freep about how the company thought the fix they rolled out would work.
“As we indicated in our submission to the federal regulator, we expected the initial repair to be effective, but continued to monitor the performance of the vehicles,” the statement read.
There also seems to be a little owner blaming in the statement, with the spokesperson saying Ford learned of owners still driving their vehicles after engine block breaches. Whatever happens in this case though, Ford might want to do the right thing. Hagens Berman has a history of suing Ford and winning.