A large Ford dealership in Texas is suing Saleen Automotive, alleging fraud and breach of contract, and another dealership says it's having similar problems getting Saleen to deliver a supercharged Mustang that was promised and paid for long ago. Financial documents show that Saleen is deeply in debt and low on cash.
But CEO Steve Saleen, a former race car driver who has been customizing performance cars since 1984 and rose to fame with his go-fast Ford Mustangs, says those dealerships' experiences aren't representative. Saleen says it's a "small miracle" his company has gotten to where it is since he was forced to start anew several years ago.
In its lawsuit, Red McCombs Ford in San Antonio says three 2015 Mustangs it paid Saleen Automotive to modify arrived six months late and missing more than $22,000 in upgrades. The dealership says it has been unable to get a refund for the missing equipment and extra months of floorplan expenses -- which would amount to half of the $60,850 in cash with which Saleen said it started the year.
Meanwhile, Friendship Ford of Bristol in Tennessee says it's still waiting for a "Yellow Label" Mustang it ordered from Saleen more than a year ago. Ford Motor Co. sent the Mustang in September to Saleen's 4-acre headquarters in Corona, Calif. After lengthy delays that the company blamed on a vendor, the car's whereabouts have become a mystery, according to a Friendship executive.
Saleen, which originally agreed to deliver the $55,000 Mustang by the end of last year, told Friendship and Automotive News that it was shipped in early June. More than a month later, Denny Fruth, Friendship's general manager, said he's still waiting.
"I don't know where the car is. I don't have a clue," said Fruth, who envisioned the 715-hp Mustang helping to draw customers into his showroom. "Every month this year, it's been another story. I actually thought about jumping on an airplane to L.A. and walking in the shop to see if it's in there."