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Ford Hybrid Ignite Engine-Shutdown Class Action Lawsuit

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Detroit, MI: Ford Motor Co, is facing a defective automotive class action lawsuit alleging the car manufacturer' hybrid sedans can shut down without warning. Specifically, the class action claims that because of a flaw in the engine-cooling systems, two of Ford' hybrid sedans can shut down without warning while traveling at highway speeds. The lawsuit further claims that Ford has known of the defects since 2005 based on pre-release testing data, consumer complaints, warranty reimbursement rates and data from Ford dealerships.

The lawsuit claims the defects are present in the 2005 through 2008 models of the Ford Escape Hybrid and the 2006 through 2008 models of the Mercury Mariner. These models were the first hybrid crossovers to be released by a US car manufacturer.

Filed by lead plaintiff Jean MacDonald, the lawsuit, entitled MacDonald v. Ford Motor Co., Case No. 3:13-cv-02988, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges MacDonald purchased a new 2007 Ford Escape hybrid from a California dealership and put more than 43,000 miles on it without incident. Then, in December 2012, the car' "top Safely Now"light went on and the vehicle went powerless in the middle of the freeway.

A dealership determined the vehicle there was a malfunction of a cooling pump associated with the MECS, and replaced it at a cost of $767. The MECS (Motor Electric Cooling System) is used in the Ford hybrids to diffuse the heat generated by the hybrid vehicles' battery-powered motor component. The MECS releases hot air into the atmosphere. To prevent the vehicles from sustaining damage from the heat, the vehicles are designed to shut down whenever the MECS becomes inoperative.

According to the lawsuit, Ford' MECS coolant pumps are "substantially certain"to fail suddenly and without warning, causing the vehicle to shut down immediately. Because the engine shutdown can occur while the vehicle is traveling at highway speeds, drivers may find themselves in an extremely dangerous situation.

"The coolant pump causes unsafe conditions in the class vehicles, including but not limited to abrupt losses of acceleration, inability to manoeuvre the vehicle due to reduced speed, slowed steering, and in certain cases, complete vehicle failure,"the lawsuit states. This sudden engine failure can leave a driver stranded in the middle of a busy highway if a shoulder cannot be reached before the vehicle comes to a complete stop.

"Defendant knew about and concealed the coolant pump defect present in every class vehicle, along with the attendant dangerous safety and driveability problems, from plaintiff and class members, at the time of sale, lease and repair,"the complaint states.

In bulletins issued by Ford, the company issued instructions on how Ford mechanics were to replace the allegedly defective coolant pump with a nondefective model, but the carmaker has allegedly told consumers that they are on the hook for the costs of a new system rather than repairing it under warranty.

"Instead of repairing the defect in the MECS coolant system, Ford either refused to acknowledge their existence, or performed ineffectual repairs that simply masked the effect,"according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks to represent a nationwide class of buyers and lessees of the allegedly defective Escape and Mariner models, as well as a subclass of California-based customers under the state' Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

MacDonald is represented by Jordan L. Lurie, David L. Cheng, Tarek H. Zohdy and Cody R. Padgett of Capstone Law APC.

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Reader Comments

Posted by

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It happened multiple times for me today. I have a 2011 Ford Fusion with 198K miles. Multiple times on the highway I got the "Stop Safely Now" warming, lost power, pulled to the side of the road, turned off the car, started it and was off again. I turned off my AC and I seem to be able to drive, but have not hit the highway again sine.

Posted by

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It is the day after Christmas 2017. My 2006 Ford Escape has given me a morning from hell, shutting down in 21 degee winter cold. Shut down at least 3 times today! Doing around town errands not far from home. Finally got the thing going long enough to finally reach my driveway. Very dangerous when road space, and break down lanes/ shoulder are diminished by snow. People trying to pass by my dead vehicle safely, some getting annoyed at me!
This vehicle has done this often since I bought it used about three years ago. It seems to shut down when outside air temperatures drop below freezing, although it has also shut down on me in the Maine Turnpike in summer while trying to run air conditioning. Once the car decides it is ready to start again, you dare not use anything like the luxury of defrost and heat, or air conditioning, because in my mind, I am thinking I am draining battery supply power. So incredibly annoying! I will write to my local McFarland Ford dealership and see what they will tell me. Just what I need along with all the other expense stress of the Holidays!

Posted by

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I have had this issue with my Ford Escape 2009 HEV suv for over a 2 year s now. Continue to deal with it after replacing many parts on the vehicle. Many time it has powered down while driving. OMG I am used to it.

Posted by

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We just bought an '07 Escape Hybrid in December, after my trusty Honda CRX was totaled. We were RUSHED into buying another vehicle, because our insurance company only gave us a rental car for something ridiculous like two weeks. My CRX was paid off, got 43mpg, and was RELIABLE. The check engine light came on in the Escape BEFORE I EVEN GOT IT HOME THE FIRST DAY!! The dealership we bought it from said the engine light was on because the air filter for the battery needed to be changed. After that was replaced, the check engine light came on three more times, in less than 3 months. I have had to drive 6 hours round trip, every time the vehicle needs to be looked at. The customer service at our dealership has been fantastic, but this last issue, STOP THE VEHICLE SAFELY error message, this is the last straw, ESPECIALLY since the parent company knows of this major recall. I spoke to my dealer, and they will be buying this vehicle back for us. The only bummer is that after all the car shopping we did, our credit is now lower than it was when we bought the car....so NOW WHAT?!?! All of this stress because of some idiot who t-boned my car.

Posted by

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Same specific and exact problem and it cost me 700 to replace the MEC cooling etc...but my car is a 2009 but built and on line in Sept 08 by their own admission but they won'rt be fair and cover me since its a 2009 model but built on 08.

I think based on my reading in chats across the internet the 2009 at last the ones built in 08 should have been covered too for the exact same problem...

Contacted ford explained everything and even the build in 08 and they said its sold as a 09 and not covered ..pretty fair and reasonable huh ?

Posted by

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I own a 2006 mercury mariner hybrid which I purchased used in 2011. I have had many many occurrences of the engine stopping and the dash board telling to pull over safely now. The dealership I bought the vehicle from quoted me two thousand plus dollars for the repair which I refuse to pay. I called Ford motor company and they told me my vehicle does not qualify for a recall. This is super frustrating. I used to like Ford but unless they make this right I will never do business with them again.

Posted by

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I had to pay a local Ford dealer almost $800 to replace my cooling pump at 98K miles in Oct 2014. On 7-11-2016 I got the same error message "Stop safely now". My 2006 Escape Hybrid overheated and shut down several times in Oct 2014 the day I brought it in for repairs to a Ford dealer in Oct, 2014. On 7-11-2016, when we got the error message, we stopped and let it cool, then started again. I refuse to pay Ford again to repair this known issue again in less than 2 years!

Posted by

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I'm in the military and stationed in Spain with my 2007 Ford Escape hybrid (90k miles). The family and I decided to take a road trip up to Madrid and then to Barcelona. After about four hours of driving towards Madrid the car gave me the red triangle and shut down. I put on my hazards and turned the car off. I figured maybe the gas cap wasn't on all the way. I adjusted it and then hopped back in the car and continued up to Madrid for the next two hours with no issues. The next day we drove around the city and then later in the night we headed out to drive the next four hours to Barcelona. However after an hour of driving on the highway the car continually shut down anytime I drove up hill and required 2000 rpms. After shutting down multiple times I decided not to risk driving further away from home and just turn around and drive back home for 12 hours straight while continually watching my rpm making sure I did not go over 2000 the whole way home. This meant driving around 40 to 50 mph and 20 up hills so the car wouldn't shut down. After investigating online I found that the MECs pump was notorious for this issue so I ordered one from Amazon for $149. I also had the Spanish ford dealership run the code scanner and found that I had the P1A0F and P1A0D codes which are two of the possible seven codes a failing MECs pump will give off. I replaced the pump yesterday and so far the newer smaller model pump has worked fine.

Posted by

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While driving on highway, engine shut down, accelerator stopped, dashboard showed " stop safely now". I turned on hazard light and coasted across lanes to side of road. Was able to restart car in normal fashion and continued to drive in right lane at 45 miles per hour until arriving home. Approx 15 miles. Have made appointment with dealer Monday morning. Will be interested to see how they advise me what needs to be done and at whose cost.

Posted by

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After replacing the coolant pump on my escape the check engine light came on several times after that and the back left doer light Saif the door was ajar. After that if the tank is full or under a quarter full my escapes beeps non stop. If you lock the car when it was full the alarm would go off. Before I could call the repair shop my electric power steering went out. Seems weird to me. Could the coolant pump caused my electronics to overheat and become damaged?

Posted by

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This issue happened to me several times before Ford issued a recall. I even called corporate to complain because I almost got into two accidents. Then yesterday it happened again....almost got in 3 accidents. I was so scared my blood pressure was literally through the roof.

Posted by

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same thing happen to me twice on the highway at high speed in traffic.

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