Georgians who recently purchased or might be planning to buy a new Ford may be interested to know that Ford Motor Company has ordered the recall of approximately 5,500 2012 Edge vehicles for a possible fuel line defect. The problem was noticed after warranty claims were filed on 12 such vehicles.
Product liability cases involving potential fire hazards from fuel are not new to the auto industry as a whole, or to Ford Motors specifically. Earlier cases of such hazards involved improperly designed placements of fuel tanks creating a dangerous product more susceptible to an explosion or fire in the event of a rear-end collision.
The problem reportedly involving the 2012 Ford Edge, however, involves a defective part in the fuel line which could crack and result in a leak causing a fire under the hood. According to Ford, no accidents have been reported and there have been no fires or injuries as a result of the defect.
Although Ford reports that the part is manufactured by a parts supplier, any auto manufacturer in this situation could be held liable for any injuries which might result from a defective part. Under products liability law, if a product is dangerous and causes an injury, any company in the chain of manufacturing and distribution to the consumer can be held liable. This places responsibility upon the designer, the manufacturer of the product, the suppliers of parts, distributors at various levels as well as the dealer who sells the product directly to the consumer.
Liability may be based upon a product defective in design, manufacture, packaging or instructions and warnings. Liability for a defective product may be found without specific proof of negligence.
Source: The New York Times, "Ford Recalls Some 2012 Ford Edge SUVs," The Associated Press, Sept. 15, 2012