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Ford ordered to pay $2B to truck dealers

June 11, 2011 at 9:15 AM
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CLEVELAND, June 11 (UPI) -- A judge in Ohio said Ford Motor Co. owed commercial truck dealerships $2 billion, upholding a February ruling in a new class-action suit.

In February, a jury awarded $4.5 million to Westgate Ford, a Youngstown, Ohio, dealership. As a class-action suit, Judge Peter Corrigan of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court in Cleveland used the same formula from the first case to award $800 million in damages plus $1.2 billion in interest, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The suit involved about 3,100 dealerships and about 475,000 trucks from 1987 to 1998.

The suit hinges on Ford's discount program for selling commercial trucks, a category that includes bulldozers and tractor-trailers.

Ford set the prices too high for customers, then awarded dealerships discounts so they could make a profit, the Times said.

Ford said it "caused no harm to our dealers," and would appeal the ruling.

But attorney James Lowe said Ford was playing a game.

"The dealers who called to get these special discounts thought they were getting a deal, but they weren't. No dealer knew what any other dealer was paying," he said.

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