U-Haul bans Ford Explorer

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U-Haul Forbids Rentals to Explorer Drivers Thu Jan 8, 6:27 AM ET Add Business - AP to My Yahoo!
DETROIT - U-Haul is forbidding its stores from renting trailers to
customers driving Ford Explorers, citing product liability lawsuits involving the popular sport utility vehicle, a newspaper reported.
U-Haul International Inc., North America's largest trailer rental company with more than 17,000 outlets, implemented the policy Dec. 22, saying it can no longer afford to defend the lawsuits, The Detroit News reported in Thursday editions.
"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 newspaper, adding that the move is "not related to safety issues."
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."
Ford Motor Co. spokesman Jon Harmon called U-Haul's decision "surprising and disappointing."
"This is all about runaway litigation and trial lawyers forcing businesses to make unfortunate decisions for fear of lawsuits," he said.
U-Haul was involved in a lawsuit that Bridgestone/Firestone settled out of court in September. It involved three college students who were injured when their Firestone-equipped Explorer overturned while pulling a U-Haul trailer.
Bridgestone/Firestone is currently trying reach an agreement on a $149 million settlement of 30 class-action lawsuits because of defective tires.
Although federal regulators have said there isn't enough evidence to show that the Explorer model contributed to the tire defects, many of the problem tires were equipped on Explorers.
A bulletin issued to U-Haul dealers last month said the company's decision was "based on the negative perceptions of Ford Explorers ... we are separating ourselves from the negative public perception and its potential consequences."
Ford has maintained the Explorer is safe. In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (news - web sites) traced Explorer tire failures and resulting rollovers to tire manufacturing flaws.
Fried said the rental ban applies to all model years, even though the Explorer was redesigned in 2002, improving its rollover rating. It was voted "tow vehicle of the year" by Trailer Boats magazine the same year.
Ford launched the Explorer 14 years ago and this month will deliver its 5 millionth unit.
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WOW!
that's the first we're hearing of it :rolleyes
Late to the party, dude!

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Maybe Ricky traded the Dodge in on an Explorer ?

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Philip,
This has already been endlessly debated in here (see the "U-Haul bans trailer rentals for Ford Explorers" thread). One post included a letter from U-Haul saying that the ban was related to law suits and had nothing to do with the suitability or unsuitability of Explorers to tow. Even more amazing is the fact that the ban doesn't extend to Mountaineers or Navajos. It seems to me, the ban would make more sense if they refused to rent to vehicles equipped with Firestone tires.
Ed
PS - Stones, Glass Houses, Etc.
"Philip®" wrote:

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Sounds like another bunch of crap, in a NG's, to me. Companies don't 'spend' money to 'defend' themselves in litigation. Just like you and everyone else, their insurance carrier pays the legal costs of defending the insured in any litigation, as well as paying any awards that may be granted by the courts..
mike hunt
"C. E. White" wrote:

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Who pays the insurance carrier?
Alvin in AZ
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Ultimately, like every thing else one buys, the consumer. ;)
mike hunt
snipped-for-privacy@XX.com wrote:

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I like your reasoning... the only reason I like it is because you have no political or social influence what-so-ever. It may interst you that insurance companies cover liability only..... if you are right, someone elses insurance company will cover the litigation costs. If you are wrong, your insurance carriers coverage will only cover liability..... if you are wrong, your integrity is called into question. If your integrity is questionable, people don't trust yo. If people don't trust you, they wont give you their money..... HELLOOOOO!!, is anyone home??
Yes, the consumer is benificiary when it comes to frivolous lawsuits..... companies need to pass ALL their costs down the line - is this some unknown secret? And yes, I firmly believe the Firestone tire debacle to be frivolous....... It is those people who lack basic doses of common sense who are first to blame someone else for their errors and omissions. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink..... similarly, you can admonish a motorist about his lack of maintenance and he/she will fail to mend his/her ways.
I spilled my coffee and, much to my surprise, it was hot........ ring any bells??
Jim Warman snipped-for-privacy@telusplanet.net
BTW, you gain much credibility if you lose the cutesy shit and get honest with the folks you want to listen to you.
wrote:

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On Thu, 08 Jan 2004 14:50:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

Not true, Many large companies of which U-Haul is one, self-insure in these cases with an excess coverage carrier. This is where an insurance carrier handles the claims on a cost plus basis up to a cap which is usually quite high. This is like a deductible to a private party. In the case of a large business like U-Haul, you are looking at a self-insured amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars per loss before the excess coverage kicks in. Likewise, there is no coverage for legal expenses or attorney fees that are paid by the "insured". Up to the excess level, it all comes out of their pocket and right off the bottom line. Above the cap, the pay dearly for insurance coverage. These losses can easily place many companies into receivership. Remember that a company is nothing but a financial tool owned by investers. Those investers may include some of the folks in this NG if they are planning for retirement.

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True, many companies do 'self insure' for certain employee coverage's and some losses, but product liability is not one of them.
Just where in "Detroit" was this article published? There is nothing current or in the archives of the 'Detroit Free Press,' 'Tribune Newspapers,' 'Automotive News,' or the 'Wall Street Journal.' Fords HR site dose not list anybody in their publicity or legal departments by the name of Jon Harman or John Harman or other variations of the name.
mike hunt
lugnut wrote:

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Well, The company I work for is self insured, and it's not employee coverage ( health and welfare is via out side insurance company ). Our entire fleet is under an umbrella self insurance. This past year we paid out several million dollars. And are currently in litigation for two accidents involving two of our vehicles one resulted in a death.

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Your company apparently is not a manufacture subject to product liability litigation. ;)
mike hunt
Thomas Moats wrote:

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I found this article in the Detroit News, here it is unabridged.
mike hunt
By Eric Mayne, The Detroit News U-Haul International 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.
U-Haul says the decision was not related to safety.
By Tim Boyle, Getty Images
The reasons for the unusual move by U-Haul aren't entirely clear but it 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."
Ford Motor (F) spokesman Jon Harmon called U-Haul's decision "surprising and disappointing."
"This is all about runaway litigation and trial lawyers forcing businesses to make unfortunate decisions for fear of lawsuits," Harmon said.
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 would not release details about the accidents cited in its lawsuits.
A bulletin issued to U-Haul dealers last month, which was obtained by The News, says the company's move was "based on the negative perceptions of Ford Explorers ... we are separating ourselves from the negative public perception and its potential consequences."
U-Haul has no ban on rentals to Mercury Mountaineer owners, although the vehicle is mechanically a carbon copy of the Explorer.
"We've had no issues with the Mercury Mountaineer," Fried said.
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 have spent millions of dollars to settle product liability cases over the tires and SUV.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in February 2002 that there was not enough evidence to open a formal defect investigation of the Explorer.
In the wake of the widely publicized Firestone tire recall, the Explorer has become a favorite target among product liability lawyers, said Sid Gilreath, a Knoxville, Tenn., lawyer involved in product liability litigation for more than three decades.
The number of lawsuits involving Explorers isn't necessarily a reflection of its performance characteristics, Gilreath said.
"The lawyers who do those (cases) know that we have more documentation on the Explorer," Gilreath said.
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 2003 Ford Explorer was among the first vehicles subjected to the new test. The results are pending.
Acknowledging the same legal cost pressures U-Haul cited in its rental ban, Harmon said Ford has settled Explorer lawsuits out of court, adding the company is 8-0 in cases that have gone to juries.
Fried said the rental ban applies to all model years, even though Explorer was redesigned in 2002 — the same year the SUV improved its NHTSA rollover rating from two stars to three, and was voted "tow vehicle of the year" by Trailer Boats magazine.
"It's a perfectly capable tow vehicle," said Stuart Bourdon, automotive editor of the California-based publication.
"The bottom line is, if you don't overload the vehicle and you've got the proper tires with the appropriate ratings and they are properly inflated and you drive with common sense, you really shouldn't have any problems."
Motorists often exceed the towing limits of their vehicles, said John Oraha, sales manager at Avis Ford in Southfield. Engines and suspensions must be a match for the job, he said, so motorists should ask themselves questions such as: "Do you have a V-8? Do you have a tow package?"
Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, which oversees NHTSA, said the large number of Explorer models on the road must be factored into accident frequency.
And in U-Haul's case, trailers can be "quite difficult to handle," said Hall, who now runs Hall and Associates, a safety and security consulting agency in Washington.
Ford launched the Explorer 14 years ago and this month will deliver its 5 millionth unit.
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snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

My guess would be that U-Haul is trying to defend itself by saying that roll overs associate with Explorers and their trailers were caused solely by the vehicle and had nothing to do with their trailer. Probably the lawyers said, "Well if your trailers are not at fault and the vehicles are dangerous, why do you rent your safe trailers to people driving dangerous vehicles?" So in order to remove themselves from the blame triangle, they are now saying, "You are right, so we are not going to rent our safe trailers to people driving those dangerous vehicles." Then to prevent Ford from suing them for liable, they put out a press release saying the ban has nothing to do with the safety of the Explorer, only that it is the safety a the Explorer as a tow vehicle.
I just checked the U-Haul on line reservation system. It now says that you can't use an Explorer (a change from last week), but you can still use a Mountaineer or a Navajo. And they did get rid of the picture showing an Explorer towing one of their trailers (another change from last week).
Ed
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Interesting reckoning CE! That might explain it.
--
Regards,
Anthony Giorgianni
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Sure enough! :) And it's our fault! We are the jurers that hand the money over to the "little guy" because the friggin corporation has so much of it. Republicans and Libertarians take note- Lawyers using/controlling the government's power give the owners of corporations immunity.
Gov't or Inc. what's the difference? :/
Alvin in AZ
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Leave politics out of this discussion!
~CyberWolf
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On Fri, 9 Jan 2004 20:50:25 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@XX.com wrote:

no you hand out the money to the lawyers, the little guy gets left overs.
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Ok, I'll go along with that. :)
I just want the point to be, your fellow citizens (you and me) are the bleeding hearts that hand over the fat cats money to the lawyers/coffee burnt.
Yeah, most of the time it doesn't go to court but the money is exchanged anyway but only because they know it will for sure, if it went to court and the jurers might even give them more and the "number" will be public.
I like bashing lawyers as much as anybody:) but it ain't all their fault. :/ We need to face up to the blame.
Alvin in AZ (take that english comp teacher;)
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On Sat, 10 Jan 2004 19:59:18 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@XX.com wrote:

Let me point out that in many cases the "fellow citizens" are not given all the facts. Judges routinely prohibit some facts from even being brought up in these cases. For example, the driver may have been a drug user and may have been driving for 12 hours prior to an accident. BUt the judge may rule that those facts are immaterial to the case an prohibit the defense from introducing them.

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