In a July 27 complaint filed in a Wayne County, Michigan state court, Ford said Dana has refused to accept responsibility for the “inadequate” subframes it had supplied for Windstars made during the 1999 to 2003 model years.
Ford said it has suffered “substantial damages” from the subframes and the recall, but that Dana has refused to cover its costs. The lawsuit seeks compensation for past and future damages related to the subframes, as well as other costs.
A spokesman for Dana, which is based in Maumee, Ohio, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On January 26, 2011, Ford recalled 425,288 Windstars in 22 mostly cold-weather U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, saying that subframe brackets and mounts might separate, causing a loss of steering control and a greater risk of a crash.
The recall followed a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration probe into dozens of reports of subframe problems, nearly all from what it called “Salt Belt” states.
“Ford is asking the court to enforce the cost sharing terms of our supply agreement with Dana,” said Todd Nissen, a spokesman for the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker.
Last month, Ford announced two recalls for its new 2013 Escape, including one urging owners to stop driving the sport-utility vehicles with 1.6-liter engines because of a fire risk.
In Wednesday trading, Ford shares fell 15 cents to $9.04, while Dana shares fell 53 cents to $12.65.
The case is Ford Motor Co. v. Dana Holding Corp et al, Wayne County, Michigan Circuit Court, No. 12-009955.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr