When you buy a brand new car, you drive away with certain expectations of your new vehicle. Along with performing and operating flawlessly, a new car probably shouldn’t show any signs of oxidization (i.e. rust) in the first couple of years if it’s not being used as a bumper car. Yet when two Mustang owners saw the obvious signs of rust on their aluminum hoods and failed to be satisfied with the dealership fixes, they took Ford to court alleging a corrosion conspiracy.
According to Car Complaints, that lawsuit has since been tossed aside, with the judge noting that had the plaintiffs pursued a different course, they might have made more progress. It’s a case concerning just how far an automaker should have to go to fix purely aesthetic anomalies.
The lawsuit focuses on plaintiff’s Mark Solomon and Williams Mickens, who alleged that Ford knowingly sold defective aluminum hoods on 2005 to 2014 Ford Mustangs. In addition to the standard 3 year/36,000 mile warranty, both men also bought Ford’s 5-year Corrosion Protection coverage. Mickens bought a 2006 Mustang GT in September of 2005, and in March of 2008 brought it to the dealership with concerns over bubbling paint on his hood. Over the next six months the dealership performed repairs, under warranty, five or six more times until Ford finally said enough was enough. Mickens was told by independent repair shops that he’d need a brand new hood to permanently resolve the problem.
Solomon’s experience with bubbling paint was similar, but he declined the dealership’s repair because in his opinion it wouldn’t work. He then bought an aftermarket carbon fiber hood, alleging in his lawsuit that Ford owes him for paying for a new hood out of his own pocket. The judge dismissed both complaints, as neither man could demonstrate financial loss due to the hood corrosion, despite internal Ford data demonstrating that the Mustang’s aluminum hood was five times more likely to experience corrosion.
The judge noted, however, that had the plaintiffs taken Ford to court over breach of warranty contract, they may have had a better case. Since Solomon turned down the repair of his own accord, he can’t just rewrite the warranty contract to give himself a new hood. Similarly, Mickens traded his 2006 GT in for $17,000, $450 above the NADA trade-in value at the time. On the flip side, a cursory review of CarComplaints finds plenty of Mustang owners complaining of similar hood corrosion and paint problems, so it’s far from just an isolated case.
There’s more to the case than that, but the gist of it is, Ford probably didn’t test its aluminum hoods as well as it should have…but it’s probably not going to hurt the value of your Mustang much, if at all.