Man sues Ford Vietnam for refusing to recognize gearbox problem

By Minh Minh   March 8, 2018 | 09:07 pm PT
Man sues Ford Vietnam for refusing to recognize gearbox problem
Vietnamese employees work at Ford automotive plant in Hai Duong Province, Vietnam. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam
His car kept slipping out of gear, but a Ford garage blamed it on him and demanded payment for the repair work.

A man in Ho Chi Minh City has filed a lawsuit against American automaker Ford's joint venture in Vietnam, accusing the company of failing to fulfill its warranty obligations.

Vo Quoc Binh said his Ford Focus had suffered a gearbox problem but a Ford outlet in HCMC blamed the problem on him and demanded he pay for repair work, local media reports said.

He sent his petition to a city court on Wednesday and another in the northern province of Hai Duong, where Ford Vietnam is based. He has also filed complaints with local consumer rights associations and the trade and transport ministries.

Binh said he had bought the car, manufactured in 2014, last month, but the gearbox kept overheating during transmission.

The car slipped out of gear while he was driving his family up a hill at 50kph three weeks ago, and he was forced to nurse it home on a journey that took two days instead of just a few hours.

"There could have been a serious accident. My family were so scared they had to find a different way back," Binh said, as cited by Dan Tri.

He called a Ford Vietnam hotline but had to wait four days before he was told to visit a dealership in Thu Duc District.

The mechanics looked at the problem briefly before blaming it on him, he said.

They claimed a water leak had caused the gearbox to rust and asked him to pay VND40 million ($1,760) for the repair work.

He met with Ford Vietnam’s representatives on Thursday to tell them he intends to pursue the suit, which demands compensation of VND100 million and for Ford Vietnam to buy his car at market price.

Ford Vietnam was established in 1995, and is a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and the Vietnamese Song Cong Diesel Company.

Nghiem Xuan Hai, who is in charge of the company’s customer services in HCMC, said he had asked Binh to bring the car in for further checks but he had refused, saying he no longer trusted the company.

Binh, who is the CEO of a used car dealership himself, said he wanted Ford to treat its customers in Vietnam fairly, media reports said.

He said he knew of another customer who had suffered a similar problem with a Ford Focus manufactured in 2015.

A spokesperson for Ford Vietnam said the company would make an official response soon.

Last year, thousands of customers in the United States filed a class action lawsuit over gearbox problems on Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta models made between 2011 and 2016. The company has offered settlement payment.

In 2016, Ford Vietnam recalled 8,355 cars due to gearbox problems.

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