The dashboard in 2015-2020 model year Ford F-150 XL and XLT trucks has the tendency to warp and separate from the vehicle, in particular around the defroster vents, as the result of a “manufacturing defect,” a proposed class action alleges.
The 82-page complaint claims some affected F-150 dashboards, which bear the part number FL3Z-1504320-AG, have displayed signs of the troublesome defect mere weeks after the cars were driven off the lot and well within the warranty period. Replacement dashboards provided by defendant Ford Motor Company are similarly beset by the warping defect, the lawsuit says, noting, however, that dashboards in the more expensive trims for the F-150 seem unaffected.
Despite a “landslide of complaints” about the problem dating back several years, Ford has “refused” to address the dashboard defect, the complaint says. According to the suit, the company has known of the warping issue plaguing 2015-2020 F-150 trucks since at least April 2015 yet has not disclosed the problem to customers, who’ve often had to pay out of pocket to fix the issue even when it develops under warranty.
The suit notes that Ford sent a technical service bulletin to dealerships in 2019 calling for dashboards that display the warping defect to be replaced entirely. The problem, however, is that the American automaker has swapped out the old dashboards with ones that also possess the warping defect, according to the suit.
As the case tells it, a clear fix to the dashboard warping problem exists—yet it would be costly for Ford to implement.
“Ford has simply replaced one defective dash with another defective dash, failing to address the underlying issue causing the warping and separation, despite Ford’s awareness of and access to a proper remedy—installation of the dash used in the Ford F-150’s more expensive trim packages,” the lawsuit, filed on May 12 in Delaware federal court, alleges.
Service bulletins and a “readily available” fix
Per the case, Ford issued a “special service message” to dealers in mid-2018 in which the company described the dashboard warping defect and said not to attempt repair. Despite issuing this message—and despite being aware of the fact that “a substantial number of class vehicles had already manifested the defect”—neither Ford nor its dealers disclosed the problem to F-150 customers, the suit says.
On February 15, 2019 Ford “finally” issued a technical service bulletin that called for dealers to replace the affected F-150 models’ original dashboards, the lawsuit states. Some customers, including one of the plaintiffs, however, have reported a recurrence of the warping defect “shortly after installation” of a new dashboard, the suit claims.
Further still, the case says that although certain F-150 drivers have received replacement (if still defective) dashboards, many others have been “stonewalled” by Ford, who’s said that replacement dashes are on backorder. Other drivers, the suit claims, have had dealerships flat out refuse to replace their truck’s dashboard.
Included in the complaint are a number of images that purport to show the near-identical manner in which the dashboard defect pops up:
The fix, as far as the lawsuit is concerned, comes by way of the more expensive trims available for the Ford F-150—namely the Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trims. Ford, the case alleges, has declined swapping the dashboards used in its more expensive trim models for the warp-prone ones for reasons starting and ending with cost. From the complaint:
The Defect appears to only present in the XL and XLT trim levels of the Ford F-150. Consumers that have installed the higher end Lariat/Platinum dashboard have reported no warping.
Defendant is well aware that the substandard materials utilized in the XL and XLT Original and New Dash are prone to warping. Defendant nevertheless persists in refusing to provide a higher quality dashboard that Defendant knows will remedy the problem in the Class Vehicles.”
Who’s included in the lawsuit?
The lawsuit looks to cover all persons and entities nationwide who bought or leased any 2015-2020 Ford F-150 XL or XLT truck in the United States and resided in the country at the time of purchase. The suit similarly looks to represent “subclasses” of F-150 drivers in California, Illinois and Virginia who lived in those states at the time of purchase.
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