Why Ford Was Just Hit With A Massive Fine

Ford was just slapped with a massive fine, following the conclusion of a lawsuit that examined a serious safety issue with its trucks.

By Joseph Farago | Published

ford F-150 lightening ford tesla

Ford is one of the most successful car companies worldwide. But its reputation has received a massive blow recently after a car crash using one of its famed vehicles catalyzed a significant lawsuit. Now, Ford has to pay $1.7 billion in punitive damages after a jury decided that the car company was liable.

The case began after a driver using an F-250 pickup truck crashed unexpectedly due to a car misfunction. The Ford truck’s tire blew out for no real reason, which threw the car off the road, killing both the driver and the passenger. The children of the deceased filed the lawsuit after their parents died in 2014, alleging that the car’s roof was the cause of death.

Both children, Kim Hill and Adam Hill wanted punitive damage after the unjust death of their parents. Georgia attorney and representative for the plaintiffs Jim Butler believes that the F-250 pickup trucks have defective roofs. Butler referred to more than 80 similar cases where plaintiffs sought punitive damages after their trucks’ roofs collapsed. The state of Georgia typically caps its punitive damage fees to $250,000. Still, since Ford had a history of this specific truck model exhibiting defects, the court was able to initiate a higher payment.

Though Ford lost the case, its representatives do not believe the automotive company was in the wrong. “We plan to appeal,” Ford said in a recent email. The company also described how they think there’s no evidence to suggest that the plaintiffs are owed that great of a monetary sum. Ford believes that the verdict is not supported by substantial evidence, even though 80 cases have been documented with similar mishaps to the F-250’s roof collapse.

Ford’s pending punitive charge is an unfathomable amount of money. Before the $1.7 billion was instituted, the court already had fees Ford needed to pay before disciplinary charges were declared. This included $24 million, along with $16,000 for the funeral expenses of the children’s parents and $22,5000, which was the value of the F-150 pickup truck. Though Ford will appeal this decision, it’s unclear if a new judge will retract any of these charges from the verdict.

Similarly to other huge automotive companies, Ford invests more in its electric vehicle roster. Already, the car company has two widely-popular EVs: the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning. Of course, these models are not cheap to purchase. With Biden’s new subsidiary plans and tax exemptions, many hope that EVs will be able to reduce their prices in the future. But for the upcoming 2023 Mach-E model, it looks like a price increase is inevitable.

The 2023 Mustang Mach-E is expected to be $8,000 more than its predecessor. Ford stated that the price increase would likely occur due to inflation, material cost jumps, and continuous supply chain interruptions. Even more frustrating is that $8,000 is almost the same as Biden’s new EV tax credit. If the tax credit only covers the increase in Mach-E’s price, then the cost of the car remains the same as last year’s model. Even though the Biden administration wants to make EVs more accessible to average Americans, electric vehicles are still too expensive for those without disposable income.