Liberty Lincoln-Mercury Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., No. 11-1258 (3d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Ford provides a warranty, entitling buyers of new vehicles to have Ford repair or replace defective components at any Ford dealer, regardless of where they purchased the vehicle. Ford reimburses dealers, providing a mark-up of 40% over cost for most parts. However, under the New Jersey Franchise Protection Act, Ford must reimburse dealers for parts at the "prevailing retail rate," charged customers for non-warranty work. Ford implemented a Dealer Parity Surcharge to recoup the increased cost. Ford calculated, for each New Jersey dealer, the cost of increased warranty reimbursements and divided by the number of vehicles purchased by that same dealer. That amount constituted the surcharge added to the wholesale price of every vehicle. The Third Circuit affirmed summary judgment that DPS violated the NJFPA. Ford devised a new system, NJCS, under which Ford calculated its total cost of complying with the NJFPA and divided by the number of wholesale vehicles sold in the state. A dealer’s total NJCS increased in proportion to the number of vehicles it purchased, regardless of how many warranty repairs it submitted. The district court found that NJCS violated NJFPA. The Third Circuit reversed in part, holding that the scheme does not violate the statute.