2019 Ford Ranger targeted in class-action suit, Ram recalls 410,000 pickups for defect in tailgate lock

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Updated May 24, 2019
Photo: Hard Working TrucksPhoto: Hard Working Trucks

According to Hard Working Trucks, Hagens Berman, the lawfirm behind the Volkswagen’s Dieselgate lawsuit, recently announced a class-action suit accusing Ford of falsifying fuel economy data in 2019 Ford Ranger trucks.

The suit claims Ford was “knowingly installing a mileage cheat device and misrepresenting fuel economy ratings” in its latest midsize trucks. The device is also referred to as an emissions-cheating device, which attorneys say is “also likely installed in F-150 trucks and possibly all other Ford vehicles.”

Ford told Hard Working Trucks that they had not yet reviewed the suit.

“We haven’t been served with this complaint yet. When we are, we’ll review it and respond appropriately,” a statement from Ford reads.

Hard Working Trucks says Hagens Berman reports that the suit was filed on behalf of consumers Monday in the U.S. District for the Eastern District of Michigan.

“Ford deceptively advertised its Rangers to consumers as ‘best-in-class’ in fuel economy,” Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, tells Hard Working Trucks. “Ford knew that consumers pay a premium for fuel efficiency and that less fuel burned means less emissions, and therefore more profits. Its own employees questioned its fuel efficiency calculations, Ford chose to blatantly ignore the clear warning signs it was given.”

In February, Hard Working Trucks says Ford announced that Ranger would be the first among other Ford vehicles to be subjected to a fuel economy and emissions investigation following concerns that were raised within the company roughly three months before MPG figures were announced for Ranger in December.

“In September, a handful of employees raised a concern through our Speak Up employee reporting channel regarding the analytical modeling that is part of our U.S. fuel economy and emissions compliance process,” Kim Pittel, Ford’s vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering, told Hard Working Trucks. 

“At Ford, we believe that trust in our brand is earned by acting with integrity and transparency,” Pittel continued. “As part of this, we have a process for looking at how we perform and behave in our broad and complex company.”

Hard Working Trucks says Ford hired an outside firm to investigate the validity of its vehicle road load specifications used in its testing and applications to certify emissions and fuel economy.

Ford also notified the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board of its actions, according to Hard Working Trucks. 

Ram recalls 410,000 pickups for defect in tailgate lock  

An additional 410,351 older Ram pickup trucks have been recalled by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) due to a faulty remote tailgate lock that will allow the tailgate to suddenly drop and spill its contents, according to a new filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to Car and Driver, a total of 1,559,588 trucks in the United States have a defective latch in which a broken tab can allow the electric actuator’s locking rod control to “overtravel” and pull the locking rods, which is equivalent to a person using the handle to open the tailgate manually.

If this occurs, FCA says the tailgate isn’t considered just unlocked, as the latch is completely open and would let the tailgate drop open at any given time.

In August 2018, FCA recalled more than 1.1 million similarly equipped 2015-2017 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks with shorter beds, and it has now recalled more than 1.5 million trucks for the issue, according to Trucks.com.

According to Car and Driver, FCA says it found at least 127 warranty claims and 67 owner reports of the defect on the long-bed models through April 29.

Trucks.com says the latest recalled pickups have eight-foot beds and a power-locking tailgate, and the power lock actuator could fracture, which would allow the lock rod control bracket to move too far and pull the lock rods. Trucks.com says this could then release the tailgate, and according to FCA, no known crashes or injuries are related to the condition.

Ram dealers will fix the locks for free, and FCA will reimburse customers who have already paid to have the work done before the recall, according to Trucks.com. Recall notifications will go to dealers and owners on June 28.

Car and Driver reports that as of April 16, FCA dealers have repaired 58 percent of the short- and medium-bed trucks.

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