Remember how Ford hand-picked its buyers for the $450,000-plus Ford GT supercar? Wrestler John Cena was one of the 500 lucky ones who got one, but he quickly sold the car afterwards. Now Ford is taking him to court, as buyers were contractually obligated to keep the car for two years before selling it.
Automakers tend to cringe when their rare supercars are resold for a higher price after they’re sold. For one, that means they’re not the ones making the big bucks off of their own products. Marques like Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Ford heavily discourage buyers from flipping their cars, sometimes using contracts like the one Cena signed for the Ford GT. If the company finds out you made a profit flipping your new supercar, it often means you won’t be invited to purchase future rare offerings from that marque. Sad!
Ford Motor Company is taking things a step further however—the company filed a lawsuit Thursday against Cena in the U.S. District Court in Michigan for breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment. The suit alleges that Cena flipped the car for a significant profit too soon after his purchase in violation of the contract he signed with Ford to purchase the 2017 Ford GT:
Mr. Cena has unfairly made a large profit from the unauthorized resale flip of the vehicle, and Ford has suffered additional damages and losses, including, but not limited to, loss of brand value, ambassador activity, and customer goodwill due to the improper sale.
Ford wants Cena to hand over any profits he made from the sale and is also asking for compensation for “other damages including, but not limited to, damages for loss of brand value, ambassador activity, and customer goodwill, which exceed $75,000.”
Ford picked a number of celebrities and other “influencers” to own its new GT, no doubt because they could broadcast how cool the car was to more people. Cena, a known car collector who also had a 2006 Ford GT, was chosen out of approximately 7,000 applicants to buy the car after touting his reach and car-nut cred, per the text of the lawsuit. Ford clearly wanted its GT owners to continue to be seen driving the GT for a while to positively represent its brand.
Per the lawsuit, Ford made the rules on reselling the 2017 GT extra clear to its buyers at numerous times during the purchase process. The Order Confirmation that Cena signed for the car reads:
By signing this Order Confirmation Form you are verifying the following: ... (B) You understand that being selected for the opportunity to purchase this vehicle is non-transferable and agree not to sell the vehicle within the first 24 months of delivery.
Cena took delivery of the car on September 23, 2017, yet Ford learned that he sold it on October 20, 2017—less than a month after he got it. Cena confirmed to Ford that he had sold it in a phone conversation with a company representative shortly afterwards. He promised to work with Ford to make what they called an “unlawful sale” right, but Ford claims he has not.
Cena previously reviewed his pretty new GT on an episode of his car vlog, John Cena: Auto Geek. While he said that it was so good he “needs a new change of pants,” it also looked like a pretty tight squeeze in there for the big guy.
However, the lawsuit notes that Cena told Ford that he sold the car along with other items to pay bills:
In a subsequent communications with the Ford representative, Mr. Cena again admitted he had sold the vehicle, and did so along with other assets to liquidate for cash to take care of expenses.
Cena’s auto vlog is part of his fiancée’s series where their opulent lifestyle is flaunted for mass consumption and they’re currently planning an extravagant wedding for next year, so myth plausible.
The full lawsuit complete with the contracts Cena signed that Ford entered as evidence for their claim is below.
[via TMZ Sports]
CORRECTION [11:31 a.m.]: Cena and Bella aren’t married just yet, so this has been corrected above as well as in a previous article referenced for this story.