Tuesday, January 28, 2014
SOUTHFIELD, MI (PRWEB) January 28, 2014
Despite the recent fanfare at the North American International Auto Show and elsewhere, questions remain about the trade-offs for the increased use of aluminum in automobile and truck designs.
In Mickens v. Ford, a federal lawsuit currently pending in New Jersey, two Mustang owners allege that the use of aluminum hood panels on their vehicles led to undesirable consequences, including the appearance of extensive corrosion on both the top and bottom of the hood panel. These fans of the iconic vehicle claim that Ford rushed to incorporate lightweight aluminum components on its vehicles to meet federal fuel efficiency requirements, to the detriment of its customers.
Over the last fifteen years, increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards have pushed automakers to increase their vehicles’ fuel efficiency. Making vehicles lighter has become a popular strategy many car companies have used to meet the CAFÉ standards.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported the Ford’s aluminum F-150 truck “represents a new challenge for auto-repair businesses, which until now haven’t had to service vehicles with such a generous amount of aluminum.” According to the article, dealerships with body shops will spend $30,000 to $50,000 for certification to repair the truck, with Ford offering dealer subsidies of up to $10,000.
The Mickens case alleges that Ford did not properly advise prospective Mustang purchasers about known corrosion problems associated with the switch to aluminum hood panels. In addition, the plaintiffs claim that Ford intentionally crafted its corrosion to exclude most aluminum corrosion problems that might arise with the vehicle, making consumers financially responsible for the problem.
The matter, filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (Civil Action No. 2:10-05842-KM-MAH), is currently in the discovery phase. The plaintiffs are being represented by a team of class action attorneys from the law firms of Kolman Ely, P.C. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Sommers Schwartz, P.C. in Southfield, Michigan.