Ford Authority

Ford Transit Connect Importation Scheme Will Cost Ford $365M

As Ford Authority reported back in 2021, The Blue Oval has been facing potential penalties ranging between $652 million and $1.3 billion – along with $181 million in added penalties levied by the U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – for failing to pay proper import duties on Ford Transit Connect models that were produced at the Ford Otosan Assembly Plant in Turkey prior to 2013. The issue, it seems, is that Ford classified the Transit Connect as a passenger van rather than a cargo van, fitting it with a cheap rear seat designed to be easily removed – which resulted in it being charged a far lower import duty. Now, that scheme will cost the automaker a whopping $365 million as it has officially settled its case with the government, according to the the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to the federal agency, Ford has agreed to pay this hefty fine to “resolve allegations that it violated the Tariff Act of 1930 by misclassifying and understating the value of hundreds of thousands of its Transit Connect vehicles.” The issue stems from the fact that Ford Transit Connect vehicles imported into the U.S. between 2009-2013 were fitted with “sham rear seats and other temporary features to make the vans appear to be passenger vehicles,” according to the DOJ.

At the time, the U.S. levied a 25 percent duty rate on cargo vehicles, but by classifying these Ford Transit Connect models as passenger vans, the automaker only had to pay a duty rate of 2.5 percent. After declaring those models as passenger vehicles and clearing customs, each unit was then “immediately stripped of its rear seats and returned to its original identity as a two-seat cargo van.”

“This settlement, which is one of the largest customs penalty settlements in recent history, demonstrates that U.S. Customs and Border Protection will pursue even the largest companies to ensure that all importers follow the rules; our intent is to enforce the customs laws fairly, which means that non-compliance is not an option for anyone,” said Senior Official Performing Duties of the Commissioner Troy A. Miller of CBP. ”The partnership between CBP and the Justice Department provides a critical safeguard to protect the revenue of the United States.”

We’ll have more on this and all of Ford’s outstanding legal cases soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for 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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