Ford Motor Co.
A Georgia jury faces $1.7 billion in punitive damages after reaching a verdict Friday in a case involving a 2014 Ford F-250 pickup truck that killed two people.
A Gwinnett County jury ruled that Ford must pay damages for selling 5.2 million Super Duty trucks. Dangerously weak roofs It could crush passengers in a rollover crash, says attorney James Butler, who represents the plaintiffs in the case.
The lawsuit was brought by the family of Georgia couple Melvin and Voncil Hill, who claimed their 2002 Ford F-250 Super Duty truck was driving from their farm when the right front tire blew out and the truck overturned. Butler said. Hills were crushed inside the truck, he added.
“While our sympathies go out to the Hill family, we do not believe the verdict is supported by the evidence, and we plan to appeal,” a Ford spokesman said Saturday.
The $1.7 billion verdict is believed to be the largest in Georgia history and is unusually large for an accident case involving an automaker. Typically, damages in these types of cases run into the millions of dollars, and many are settled out of court. Often, high-dollar verdicts are later reduced by judges or appellate courts.
“The Hill family is pleased that this part of the case is finally closed,” said Mr. Butler said. “They want to pay Ford diligently.”
On Thursday, a Georgia jury awarded $24 million in damages to the couple’s children, Kim and Adam Hill, who died in the crash. Butler said. The jury assigned Ford 70% of the fault in the case, Mr. Butler said.
Ford executives have worked for years to tackle their vehicles’ costly quality and warranty problems, including making the effort a priority under current Chief Executive Jim Farley. The company has issued 49 recalls this year, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“We continue to be hampered by recalls and customer-satisfaction measures,” Mr. Barley said. “It affects our costs, but more importantly, it cuts into our most fundamental commitment to our customers.”
Could not determine Quality problems that the company is trying to solve Nothing to do with the Georgia crash.
Last year, Ford allocated more than $4 billion to warranty costs, a 76% increase from five years ago. The car company’s total warranty costs increased by about 17% from 2016 to 2021.
Earlier this year, Mr. Before coming to Ford, Mr. Halliburton spent 17 years at JD Power, an independent research firm specializing in evaluating and studying vehicle quality.
“We spend a lot of time and insist on making sure everything is done right to prevent quality issues from emerging in the development process,” said Mr. Halliburton said.
He said he expects Ford’s warranty issues to improve next year, but it could take two to three years to see results with a high impact.
Write to Nora Eckert at [email protected]
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