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Explorer Owners Sue For Class Action

Jul 25, 2002 | UPI

Owners of Ford Explorers in Ohio have filed a lawsuit against the automaker accusing Ford of knowingly encouraging people through deceptive marketing to buy sport utility vehicles the company knew were unsafe.

The suit filed Tuesday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court seeks to become a class action for all owners and people in the state who leased 1991 through 2001 model Explorers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission ruled the best-selling SUV was not defective after Bridgestone/Firestone charged two years ago that the vehicle's high center of gravity made it prone to rollover in sudden maneuvers.

Most of the rollover accidents involving Explorers riding on recalled Firestone Wilderness tires. More than 200 deaths and 800 injuries were linked to defective Firestone tires. Both companies have settled dozens of lawsuits and face hundreds more involving drivers and survivors of people who were killed or injured in rollovers, many caused by blowouts and tread separation.

The Explorer was redesigned for 2002, and the suit seeks to recoup the lost value of older second-generation model vehicles, which lawyers for the plaintiffs said are harder to resell.

Ford denied that 1991 model through 2002 model Explorers were unsafe and said the SUV had passed all federal and insurance industry performance tests.

"All of the data have shown that the Explorer is a safe vehicle," Ford spokeswoman Angela Coletti told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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