Ford settles ignition suit

Thursday, October 25, 2001

Associated Press WriterHAYWARD, Calif. (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. agreed Thursday to reimburse current and former owners for repairs on millions of cars and trucks prone to stall because of a flawed ignition system.

The deal approved by a California judge could cost the automaker as much as $2.7 billion, according to an estimate from the plaintiffs. Ford attorney Richard Warmer disputed that estimate, without offering specifics.

"This will not be something that will have a material effect on the company's financial position," Warmer said.

The settlement ends years of litigation and will pave the way for millions of current and former Ford owners nationwide to be reimbursed for repairs and related expenses, such as towing fees.

However, it does nothing to remove from the road the estimated 12 million Fords nationwide equipped with the ignition system originally installed in 20 million vehicles. These cars and trucks remain prone to stall without warning, according to Ford's internal documents.

"I think it's as good as they could have possibly gotten, short of a recall," said Jeff Fazio, the lead attorney suing Ford.

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