"An inferior design" puts "cosmetics ahead of safety."
Ford is being sued from hundreds of Fusion, Escape, Flex, Focus, F-150 and F-350 owners over allegedly defective lug nuts. According to the suit, millions of vehicles from the aforementioned models can swell and delaminate, making it very difficult to remove the wheels without specialized help and additional expenses.
The suit was filed on behalf of the affected owners by law company Hagens Berman earlier this week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The suit seeks class-action status.
"We're not talking about breakthrough technology or computerized aspects of the auto world," managing partner of Hagens Berman, Steve Berman, said in a statement. "We're talking about possibly the simplest part of the car - the lug nuts. Ford chose to make its lug nuts with an inferior design that puts cosmetics ahead of safety and directly led to harm to consumers."
The lug nuts in question have a steel core with a chrome, aluminum, or stainless decorative cap. The same lug nuts design has been used on many European Ford models in the last two decades, but this is the first suit over them globally.
"At best this defect leads to consumers paying more than $30 per wheel at a repair shop just to get their tire off, and then have to buy new lug nuts," Berman also added. "At worst, Ford owners could quickly end up in an emergency situation on a busy roadway, stranded with a flat tire and no way to change it."
By the moment of writing this story, owners from Arizona, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia have signed on to the suit. The law firm representing them says the amount of money they are seeking varies individually depending on the loss.