OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million - FMVperformance.com : The site for all your Ford Mazda and Volvo needs
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

Hey guys......

This is off-topic but I was just wondering what the majority of you thought about this? For those that aren't aware. Ford finally lost a case against them that demanded compensation for injuries to drivers of their explorer SUV. I believe there were a total of 15 reported incidents and as many lawsuits.

After winning the first 14, Ford was ordered to pay 369 million to a woman who apparently swerved to avoid a metallic object on the road and her SUV rolled 4.5 times before coming to a stop. Because of her accident she is now paralyzed.

Do you guys think Ford is responsible for her injuries? 15 reported incidents out of millions and millions of SUVs sold. Eventhough I sympathize with the current condition of the woman and hope all this money (if she ever ends up geting it) will give her some sort of happiness; should Ford be held responsible for what is in essence a reckless manuveur with a truck?

Every SUV I've ever been in has a warning on the sunvisor about the possibility of the vehicle tipping over under sudden and massive steering input. As far as I am concerned (and the laws of physics) big/tall SUVs will tip over no matter how you design them.

Let's hear a few thoughts.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 01:13 AM
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

Even if Ford is responsible, the figure is outrageous.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 03:07 AM
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

don't drive an SUV. no flipping. simple enough.
if you had crappy tires on a sedan, you wouldn't flip unless you were swerving REALLY fast.

the amount, though, is really outrageous. Not even hockey players make that much!

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 08:18 AM
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

Nope!

If the tires blew, that's another story - not a $300+ M story, but it's the US, so no one said it had to make sense (taking cover)

If she's dumb enough to drive a truck like a car, then call it natural selection.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 12:29 PM
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

I don't know about you - but I think the next step is to sue Trek Bicycles because my sorry ass fell off one and I hurt my knee. Stupid bicycles

I think Ford should set this lady up with a nice plastic steering wheel box with touch up paint


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 01:06 PM
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

One one hand this does seem to be a case of natural selection at work.

On the other there's not much question that Ford knew exactly how prone to rollover the explorer was but still sold it knowingly to people while implying that it was somehow safer than a regular car.

IMO the smoking gun for Ford is that they deliberately specified too low tire pressure to improve rollover resistance under certian conditions but this led to excess tire heat and tread separation that ultimately caused most of the fatal rollover accidents. Of course this got blamed on Firestone tires in spite of the fact that the same tires on the Ranger had practically no problems with tread separation.

IIRC the plaintiff in the case has offered to reduce the award by $100m if Ford will redesign the Explorer & admit the design flaw. Of course no only would that admission open the flood gates to even more lawsutis it would cost a lot more than $100m to redesign the Explorer.

Ford got a free pass because if the NHTSA had found the Explorer defective the lawsuits and bad press would have bankrupt the #2 US automaker and put thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of US workers out of a job.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 05:26 PM
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

I empathize with her condition but the award is excessive.

Tall objects are tippy and easily pushed over. Short, squat ones are not. It's a matter of simple physics. Heavier cars have somewhat common knowledge as being safer than lighter cars---but I don't recall any direct promoting an SUV as being safer than a car. I believe the trend to SUVs was as a replacement for minivans---larger, more stylish, trendy, not the common next door neighbor possession. I don't think the masses were buying SUVs for the safety.

Ford may or may not have sold/oversold the Explorer's safety, but their credibility was shot once they suggested reduced tire pressures as a means of improving rollover resistance.

It is for this that they should be fined. But not 300+million.

You can't legislate common sense, and you can't changed basic physics. You can't lower the center of gravity without some *serious* design changes. Do you *really* want an SUV with a passenger car's ground clearance? Or do you want to add 2 or 3 thousand pounds of dead weight and hang it low under the vehicle?

As to all the folks who had blowouts followed by rollovers or other accidents---I'd like to know where their hands and eyes were at the time of the incident. I'm not convinced that a blowout on a high center of gravity vehicle will lead to immediate and unavoidable catastrophe. I saw one test of an SUV having a tire remotely deflated. It did not lead to immediate uncontrolled swerving and disaster. Me thinks most of these accidents occured while the operator's were preoccupied with other things in the vehicle and a gross reaction to a minor problem lead to terrible consequences.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 10:35 PM
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

The dollar amount is not what bothers me. It's the fact that someone was driving an SUV and when it rolled over they sued. I read the story some where else and it said that they sued due to the high center of gravity caused a roll over and when that happened the roof crushed and broke the persons neck. Well everyone should know that when you drive a tall ass SUV that it is prone to roll over. It is just common sense anymore. After the Jeeps and other SUVs went through this years ago you would figure people would know. Plus that fact that they want Ford to put stronger supports to prevent so much crushing is rediculous. It is a few tons landing upside down. What did they think was going to happen?

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 10:41 PM
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

Yeah, I remember that the family of Derrick Thomas (he used to be linebacker for the K.C. Chiefs) sued GM because they felt that the Chevy Suburban that Mr. Thomas drive didn't hold up well to rollovres.

Police said that he was driving "at a high rate of speed unsuited to the road conditions" at the time of the accident (I think it was like 100+ in a 70 during a cold rain).

Now, don't get me wrong... someone dying in a rollover really sucks. But, suing the car company for damages and potential lost wages for a football player makes the whole situation suck for everybody.

Maybe the auto companies should put a speed limiter in each of their SUVs (set it to 40 mph).


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 06-05-2004, 10:53 PM
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OT: Ford ordered to pay 369 million

Quote:
Originally Posted by "holeydonut"
Maybe the auto companies should put a speed limiter in each of their SUVs (set it to 40 mph).
And start that in Johnson County Kansas...... damn SUVs think they own the road :x

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