Full Federal Court determines appeal in Ford Class Action

16 November 2023

This week the Full Federal Court published its decision in Ford Motor Company v Capic [2023] FCAFC 179 (Yates, Beach and Downes JJ).

At trial, the applicant class members established that Ford vehicles sold between 2010 and 2017 fitted with the defective Ford PowerShift transmission (known as DPS6) breached the guarantee of acceptable quality in the Australian Consumer Law. The applicants had also successfully established claims for reduction in value of the vehicle as at the date of purchase, and additional damages for excess GST, stamp duty and financing costs incurred from buying the defective car at a price that did not factor in the defect.

On appeal, the Full Court dismissed Ford's appeal concerning the findings that the gearbox as defective and the cars breached the acceptable quality guarantee.

As to damages, the Full Court held that while the date for assessment for damages is the date of purchase, "subsequent events were capable of bearing on the proper assessment of reduction in value damages." Relevant events could include, for example, the availability of a repair, the extent to which a vehicle owner can continue to use the vehicle, and the value of the vehicle at the time of trial to ensure class members are not over-compensated.

The Full Court's reasoning on damages largely applied that Court's earlier decision in the Toyota matter (which itself is subject to Special Leave Application). The Full Court remitted the damages question to the trial judge.

Justin Gleeson SC
, Fiona Roughley SC and Peter Strickland appeared for the class on instructions from Chris Pagent of Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Link to judgment