Lawsuit claims some Ford Shelby GT350s can’t perform

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News
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A class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday in Miami claims some of Ford Motor Co.’s 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustangs aren’t as powerful of a muscle car as the Dearborn automaker advertised.

Four plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial to determine whether damages are owed, or if Ford used deceptive marketing for the hot rod, according to the lawsuit filed on behalf of the Shelby owners by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and attorneys at Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen.

The lawsuit alleges the base model and models of the vehicle outfitted with the technology packages can overheat due to faulty transmissions and rear differentials that cannot keep cool at high speeds on a race track. This causes the vehicle to suddenly lose power and decelerate from high speeds and putting occupants at risk, the plaintiffs allege.

The lawsuit says those owners paid high prices for “track-ready” Shelby Mustangs with base model or technology packages (the suped-up Shelbys cost around $57,000, according to the Hagens Berman legal team), but the vehicles go into “Limp Mode” at high speeds, rendering the cars “useless on the racetrack and drivers don’t get what they paid for.”

“Ford is committed to providing our customers with top-quality vehicles. However, we do not comment on pending litigation,” said Ford spokesman Bradley Carroll in a statement Thursday morning.

Limp Mode, according to the lawsuit, drastically reduces the cars’ speed and performance.

The attorneys allege Ford engaged in deceptive business practices because of the defective transmission and differential systems.

The Hagens Berman team estimates just under 4,000 Shelby owners could be affected by the defect, though only four owners are named in the lawsuit, which reimbursement and damages for those who bought or leased the affected vehicles, and injunctive relief for “Ford’s misconduct related to the design, manufacture, marketing, sale and lease of affected vehicles.”

If Ford has to pay back damages on the 3,991 Shelby GT350 Mustangs outfitted with the base or technology packages, as stated in the lawsuit, the company would owe over $227 million.

“When Ford marketed and sold these Shelby GT350 Mustangs, it knew exactly how to appeal to track-enthusiasts: it marketed enhanced performance in a limited-edition iconic vehicle that has been associated with racing for generations,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, in a news release. “We believe that Ford induced purchasers with its ‘track-ready’ marketing, when in fact it knew that this defect would ultimately bar these Mustangs from ever being the hot rod consumers paid for.”

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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