Ford Explorer rollover suits total $590 million
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. on Dec. 31, 2000, faced damage claims totaling $590 million in lawsuits stemming from the rollover of Ford Explorers equipped with Firestone tires, according to Ford's annual report filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission on Thursday, March 22.
Separately, Ford said it also faces more than $4.7 billion in damage claims from other safety-related lawsuits.
Ford also disclosed that it has been served with shareholder derivative and securities fraud lawsuits arising from its involvement with the recall of 6.5 million Firestone tires last August. The filing did not specify the damages sought. Federal investigators have linked the recalled tires to 170 deaths. Most of the recalled tires were on Explorers.
Totals for the other safety-related suits: $2.4 billion in connection with the Bronco II sport-utility; $603 million in connection with occupant restraint systems; and $1.7 billion in connection with asbestos-related claims.
Lincoln, Mercury prices rise
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. has raised prices an average of $76 on Lincoln and Mercury cars and light trucks. It is the fourth price action of the 2001 model year on the vehicles.
The increase is $100 on the Mercury Sable and Grand Marquis. Also up $100 are the Lincoln LS, Continental, Town Car and Navigator. Spared a price hike were the Mercury Cougar, Villager and Mountaineer and the Lincoln Blackwood, a pickup/sport-utility combination.
Ford Division also has raised car prices. The hike was $95 on 20 of its 23 models. (See story and table on Page 47.)
N.J. sues auto lender
TRENTON, N.J. - The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has filed a consumer fraud suit against Bank of America Corp.'s auto finance subsidiary. The suit accuses the bank of overcharging consumers for wear and tear on leased vehicles.
State officials say the lender also withheld security deposits and denied lessees the chance to contest the charges and obtain an independent appraisal, Reuters reported Friday, March 23.
The state cites 72 consumer cases dating back to 1996, Reuters said.
Covisint has leader - for Europe
DETROIT - Covisint finally has named a leader - for its European operations, that is.
While the online trade exchange continues its lengthy search for someone to be CEO of its global operations, Covisint on Thursday, March 22, named Lars Olrik, 39, as managing director of its European operations based in Amsterdam. Olrik was vice president of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young U.K.
See related story on Page 3.
Exide pays $27.5 million in fraud case
PRINCETON, N.J. - Exide Corp. will pay $27.5 million as part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois over the company's past dealing with Sears Roebuck & Co.
An Exide subsidiary agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with batteries it manufactured and sold to Sears under a contract that began in 1994. Robert Lutz, Exide CEO, said the agreement brings to a close investigations related to the business practices of the company's former management.