— A Ford class action lawsuit continues for consumers in nine states who allege 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustangs overheat and enter limp mode.
The Ford class action lawsuit was originally filed in 2017 for all current and former owners and lessees nationwide of 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang Base and Technology package models.
According to the lawsuit, the Mustangs overheat on tracks and public roads and suddenly enter limp mode to protect the engines from damage.
The plaintiffs who filed the Ford class action allege the cars are advertised as track-ready, but those plaintiffs allege the Shelby GT350 Base and Technology models are defective because they aren't equipped with transmission and rear differential coolers.
The coolers are used to prevent the engines from overheating when running at high RPM.
The 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang has five available packages, including Base, Technology, Track, R, and R Technology packages. The lowest packages, Base and Technology, are the cars involved in the lawsuit and are not equipped with coolers, and Ford says they were not advertised as being equipped with coolers.
The class action says track-ready Shelby GT350 Mustang owners are told if they want coolers installed, Ford won't cover the cost because the repairs aren't covered under any of Ford’s warranties.
The plaintiffs also argue Ford installed coolers in 2017 Shelby GT350 Mustangs because the automaker allegedly knew about the overheating problems in model year 2016 cars.
According to the plaintiffs, customers purchased the 2016 Shelby GT350 Base and Tech packages for the very purpose of sustained track driving, making the cars useless when they enter limp mode.
Ford Class Action Lawsuit Certified in Nine States
What began as a nationwide class action was trimmed to class certification in nine states:
Statutory and common law fraud classes in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Washington; statutory fraud classes in Missouri and Texas; common law fraud classes in Oregon and Tennessee; and implied warranty and Magnuson-Moss classes in California and Texas.
However, the judge dismissed claims concerning the cars entering limp mode on public roads, as well as the express warranty claims of any 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang customers who did not present their cars to dealers.
Express warranty claims were also dismissed for customers who did not give Ford pre-lawsuit notice of filing the class action lawsuit.
Also tossed are express and implied warranty claims of four plaintiffs, and all claims of one other plaintiff.
The nine-state class action includes consumers who purchased 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang cars from Ford dealerships before April 1, 2016.
Ford fought class action certification by emphasizing it specifically recommended 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang Base and Technology owners add transmission and differential coolers to the cars if drivers planned on “sustained high speeds or track day use.”
Ford also says its "track-capable" advertising is "mere puffery" because no one can even agree what track-capable means.
The automaker pointed to one plaintiff who said, “track capable can mean different things to different people.” Then another plaintiff said he needed the MagneRide suspension in order to take his car to the track, whereas a different plaintiff said the MagneRide suspension was irrelevant.
Ford further argues there was no false advertising on the Base and Technology models because the advertising for the higher-end “R” and “Track” packages was not deceptive.
"In various brochures made available to dealers and consumers before purchase, the R model was marketed as 'the most track-ready' and recommended for 'hardcore track use' while the Track model was touted as the 'track-day specialist.' In contrast, those same materials were silent on the Base and Technology models’ track capabilities." — Ford
Ford admits the cars were built to rapidly decelerate by entering limp mode, but the automaker argues no warranties were breached because limp mode is a safety feature, not a defect or malfunction.
And while the plaintiffs claim the overheating from a lack of coolers is the defect, Ford argues the engines never overheated precisely because limp mode was activated to protect the engines from overheating.
However, the judge says he can easily see why consumers believe the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustangs were ready for serious track driving.
"There should be no doubt that Ford touted the Shelby lineup as designed for the track. Other advertising materials include phrases like “an all-day track car that’s also street legal,” “tested endlessly on the most challenging roads and tracks in the world,” “we wanted to build the best possible Mustang for the places we most love to drive – challenging back roads with a variety of corners and elevation changes – and the track on weekends,” and finally described the Mustang as “track-focused.” — Judge Federico A. Moreno
The Ford class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida: Tershakovec, et al., v Ford Motor Company.
The plaintiffs are represented by Hagens Berman, and Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen.