U-Haul Trailer Accidents
"U-Haul rejects Explorers; Firm outlaws trailer rentals to owners of popular Ford SUV, citing lawsuits"
U-Haul International Inc. is forbidding its stores to rent trailers to customers who plan to tow with the Ford Explorer, saying it no longer can afford to defend product liability lawsuits linked to the best-selling SUV. The unusual move by U-Haul comes after the Explorer appeared to have overcome lingering image problems associated with the Firestone tire debacle. U-Haul, North America’s largest trailer rental company with more than 17,000 outlets -- implemented the policy Dec. 22, saying the ban was not related to safety. “U-Haul has chosen not to rent behind this tow vehicle based on our history of excessive costs in defending lawsuits involving Ford Explorer towing combinations,” the company told The Detroit News.
Joanne Fried, a U-Haul spokeswoman, declined to disclose how much the Phoenix-based company has spent defending lawsuits involving Explorers. “The decision is not based on one accident,” she said. “It’s based on several different lawsuits going on for several years.” U-Haul was embroiled in a lawsuit that Bridgestone/Firestone settled out of court in September. It involved three college students who were injured in 1999 when their Firestone-equipped Explorer overturned while pulling a U-Haul trailer. U-Haul has no ban on rentals to Mercury Mountaineer owners, although the vehicle is mechanically a carbon copy of the Explorer.
The slight is the latest in a series of setbacks that have dogged the Explorer, America’s top-selling SUV and the sixth-best selling vehicle in 2003. In August 2001, Firestone was forced to recall 14.4 million defective tires -- equipped mostly on Explorers. The treads on the tires often separated, causing drivers to lose control of their Explorers and often roll over. Federal regulators linked 271 deaths and more than 800 injuries to the defective tires. Ford recalled an additional 13 million Firestone tires in May 2001.Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. have spent millions of dollars to settle product liability cases over the tires and SUV. Ford maintains the Explorer is safe. In 2002, NHTSA traced Explorer tire failures and resulting rollovers to tire manufacturing flaws. Still, the controversy prompted federal regulators to adopt ratings that rank SUVs based on their propensity to roll over. The test used to set ratings recently was revised to better reflect real-world driving conditions. The Detroit News, January 8, 2004
FORD RESPONSE TO U-HAUL NEWS
Ford today issued a nationwide statement defending its Ford Explorer. The carmaker says "The Explorer has a long history of safe performance and, of course, is a very capable tow vehicle. U-haul has made it clear that this is not a safety issue and they have no technical concerns with the Explorer. Concerns over litigation have driven this regrettable action. We are working with U-haul on this issue. Ford regrets any inconvenience it is causing our Explorer customers and we hope to have the issue resolved soon."
ROLLOVER / ACCIDENT LAWSUIT HELP
If you or a member of your family has been involved in a serious wreck, rollover accident with severe roof crush, roof pillar collapse failure or other defects then call us now. Mr. Willis is a Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney with over 20 years of product liability and rollover litigation experience. Call the Willis Law Firm in Houston, Texas at 1-800-883-9858 for a Free & Confidential Consultation or Click on the Link Below. CALL & GET A FREE CASE EVALUATION NOW!