A new class-action lawsuit filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan alleges that Ford has knowingly reduced the structural strength of the roof of its Super Duty pickups throughout the years, dramatically increasing the risk of occupant injury in a rollover accident.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with a statement from Ford.
The suit — filed by Hagens Berman, a law firm with a history of suing Ford — specifically states that Ford removed pieces of the roof and windshield structure and downgraded both the quality and thickness of the steel in those structures in an effort to save cost. It further claims this has been going on since the Super Duty was launched in 1999.
“While we typically don’t comment on active litigation, Ford Super Duty trucks consistently meet or exceed industry safety standards with roof strength that meets or exceeds industry custom and practice for design and performance,” said a Ford representative, in a statement. “Ford constantly innovates and has done so for decades to reduce rollovers and enhance passenger protection when they occur.”
Ford was recently forced to pay $1.7 billion to the family of Melvin and Voncile Hill of Georgia after they were killed by a collapsing roof structure in a rollover accident in their 2002 F-250, so there is a recent case relating to this class-action suit.
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“When the public looks at Ford’s history of subtle, yet impactful and plentiful design choices over the decades it has made these trucks, a single storyline is clear: Ford has repeatedly chosen to degrade the structural capacity and therefore safety of its trucks, again and again, for sake of cost savings,” said Steve Berman, Hagens Berman co-founder and managing partner in a statement. “A read of Ford’s choices is a redundant tale of deletions and downgage of steel, reducing the thickness of essential components of the truck cab.”