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by Tim Beissmann

Ford could face a class-action lawsuit over claims of unintended acceleration in its vehicles after a complaint was filed in the US federal court on Thursday.

Bloomberg reports the plaintiffs – representing owners of Ford Motor Company vehicles in 14 states – are seeking compensation for loss of vehicle value, contending that Ford failed to fit certain cars with a brake override system to counter alleged instances of unintended acceleration supposedly caused by the vehicles’ electronic throttle system.

The plaintiffs have accused Ford of knowing about the alleged defect in over 30 different models – including Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles produced between 2002 and 2010 – but hiding it from consumers.

“Ford could have and should have prevented the dangers presented by these foreseeable incidents,” the plaintiffs claimed in a statement.

“Ford affirmatively concealed from plaintiffs and the other class members the defect.”

In a statement, Ford responded that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US had ruled that driver error was the “predominant” cause of instances of unintended acceleration.

“NHTSA’s work is far more scientific and trustworthy than work done by personal injury lawyers and their paid experts,” the Detroit-based manufacturer said.

“In rare situations, vehicle factors, such as floor mats or broken mechanical components, can interfere with proper throttle operation, and manufacturers have addressed these rare events in field service actions.”

The case is similar to the class-action lawsuit filed against Toyota Motor Corporation, which recalled more than 10 million vehicles around the world to correct issues relating to unintended acceleration.

Late last year, Toyota agreed to a US$1.1 billion ($1.06 billion) settlement deal to end the US legal proceedings.




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