Ford Authority

Ford Dealer Sued Over Alleged Racial Discrimination

As is the case with most large companies, Ford has faced its fair share of discrimination allegations and abuses over the years, including reports of sexual harassment at the Chicago Assembly plant and Stamping plant a few years ago, which CEO-at-the-time Jim Hackett later apologized for personally. However, these types of issues aren’t just relegated to factories or corporate offices – in fact, a new lawsuit has been filed by three family members who report that they were racially discriminated against when trying to purchase a vehicle from Suburban Ford of Ferndale, Michigan recently, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Those three customers made the 600-mile trek from Belle Mead, New Jersey to Michigan with their eye on three used vehicles – a 2021 Audi SQ7, a 2017 Porsche Cayenne, and a 2017 Range Rover, all with price tags in the $90k range. However, when they arrived, the family claims that the dealer refused to let them test drive any of those vehicles unless they either consented to a hard credit pull to ensure that they could obtain financing, or if they paid for the vehicles via a cashier’s check up front. The salesmen allegedly told them that this was required for any vehicle with a price tag of more than $50,000, citing rampant automotive theft in the area as the reasoning for that policy.

“I was perplexed. For a second, I thought, ‘Is he asking for what I think he’s asking? $89,000?’ ” recalled one of the customers, Blake Simpkins. “I thought, ‘Oh, this is racial profiling. “I was in disbelief.” To test whether or not this was the case, Simpkins reportedly asked a friend – who is white – to attempt to go test drive the Porsche, and he was allowed to do so without providing any sort of payment or agreeing to a credit check – only a driver’s license, which is customary at many dealers.

“I’ve personally never heard of a dealership requiring a cashier’s check for a full price, to drive a car? … Are you kidding me?” said the family’s attorney, Deb Gordon. “It’s insulting. It’s humiliating. Profiling is rampant out there. But what was so interesting about this situation was that my client had the wherewithal to have a white individual who he knew go to the same dealership and request to drive the same vehicle. My client was able to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Clearly, they were being profiled.”

We’ll have more on this and all pending Ford-related lawsuits soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford lawsuit news and 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Sgt, Joe Friday (LAPD Ret)

    The dealer is correct in one respect – with as much Theft – and ID fraud – as there is nowadays, there should be more than just a DL required to test drive a high-end vehicle…from EVERY test driver.

    1. bernard smith

      I’m from the metro Detroit area and when I go to a dealership to test drive a used vehicle, I fully expect and prefer a sales person to ride with me. About a year ago when my daughter and I went to Ann Arbor dealer for the Escape she ended up buying, the sales lady rode along with us. To me, this just makes good common sense. Should be the industry standard procedure.

  2. Mick1

    Salesman misheard they were looking for a get away. He thought they meant a car(for a robbery). Customer meant they were on a get away(vacation) from NJ.

  3. Bob Dobson

    I call BS

  4. Oleh.

    Point: since they were from out of town/state…they did not have local I.D……big red herring…out of state and want to drive a 90+K car….damn right I’d want a huge security deposit

  5. Jeff

    Though it sounds like racial profiling I don’t think it was. In this day age with crimes going up to let a guy without a local license drive off in a high end car would call would be crazy. It’s not about color, it’s about crime. Did the white friend have a local license? I’m betting he did and I’m betting the salesman made a copy of it. Unfortunately it isn’t easy to judge a license as valid or invalid and an out of state one would be more difficult to judge.

  6. Chow

    I hope the court has some common sense and the dealer wins this one.

  7. Bill

    The dealer should be able to ask for any documentation that he or she feels comfortable with.
    It’s the dealers money on the line. If someone doesnt’ feel that’s fair go somewhere else. The whole thing sounds fishy. I bet the 3 people were from the local area with fake id’s.

  8. Bruce Balish

    “I was perplexed. For a second, I thought, ‘Is he asking for what I think he’s asking? $89,000?’ ” recalled one of the customers, Blake Simpkins. “I thought, ‘Oh, this is racial profiling.
    This says all you need to know.

  9. Tom

    Nothing sells a car like a proper test drive, after a features and benefits walk around . Required copy of drivers license(s) phone number and email all in the Contact Mgmt System. If Cust can’t pass the muster, they probably can’t buy due to issues, straw purchase, or criminal intent. Verification to allow further sales follow up, if not sold same day. Shoppers should be aware, use salesperson’s time, means you will get attempt to be sold. If the salesperson is good, it will be the customer’s idea and they get what they came for… price, demo, information needed to make an educated purchase. Otherwise , go rent the car and do your own test drive and let the internet educate you.


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