December 20, 2002
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
GENERAL ANNOUNCE $51.5 MILLION NATIONWIDE
SETTLEMENT WITH THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., along with the Attorneys General
of 52 other jurisdictions, today announced a $51.5 million nationwide
settlement with The Ford Motor Company resolving allegations of
deceptive trade practices relating to the sale and advertising of
states alleged that Ford failed to disclose a known safety risk
concerning tire failures with certain Firestone ATX and Wilderness
AT tires that came equipped on some Ford SUVs. Specifically, the
states maintained that Ford continued to use the tires even after
the company knew the tires had an unacceptably high failure rate
and that using the tires made Ford's SUVs more likely to roll over.
The states also alleged that Ford advertising exaggerated the safe
loading capacity and maneuverability of Ford SUVs, and that Ford
deceptively advertised aftermarket tires as original equipment tires
in its "Around the Wheel" program. Ford denied any wrongdoing.
states will use $30 million from Ford to mount a nationwide public
service consumer education campaign on SUV safety. Also, each of
the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin
Islands will receive a payment of $300,000. The remainder will be
used to pay the costs of the states' investigation. Ford already
has spent approximately $2 billion to replace tires in the 53 jurisdictions.
settlement will provide greater protections for consumers who purchase
Ford SUVs," Attorney General Curran said.
joint settlement agreement, reached with the full cooperation of
the Ford Motor Company, comes a year after the states entered into
a $51.5 million nationwide settlement with Bridgestone/Firestone,
Inc., related to the advertising and sale of tires that had high
rates of tread separations. Bridgestone/Firestone manufactured the
tires specifically for use as original equipment on Ford Explorers
and Mercury Mountaineers.
addition to providing funding for a national SUV safety campaign,
the agreement contains a number of important provisions to enhance
The settlement prohibits Ford from making misrepresentations about
the cargo capacity, safety and handling characteristics of their
SUVs, or the purpose of any recall or recommended inspection. This
includes prohibiting Ford from using the term "car-like"
in advertising with respect to the steering and handling of its
The company must have reliable scientific evidence to substantiate
any representations about vehicle safety, performance or durability.
Ford must provide safety information about cargo loading and vehicle
handling to each consumer who buys a Ford SUV and provide Spanish-language
owners' guides upon request.