Navistar re-files engine lawsuit against Ford

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Navistar International Corp. announced Thursday, Feb. 28, that it is again seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from Ford Motor Co. in a long-running disagreement over a diesel engine contract it claims the automaker violated.

Navistar, which originally sued Ford last June for alleged breach of contract, said it re-filed the lawsuit after mediation last year failed to settle the dispute. Navistar, based in Warrenville, Ill., claims Ford broke its contractual promise that it would be the company’s primary manufacturer and supplier of V-6 and V-8 diesel engines in North America.

The lawsuit, re-filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Feb. 26, states that Ford itself plans to manufacture a 4.4-liter diesel engine in North America by late 2009 or 2010, and that the engine will be used in the F-150 pickup truck and possibly other vehicles. Navistar has been the exclusive diesel engine supplier for Ford’s heavy-duty pickup trucks since 1979.

Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley told the Associated Press that the company, based in Dearborn, Mich., intends to fight the lawsuit at a trial set for November. “We maintain that the lawsuit is without merit, and we are honoring commitment of the contract,” Kinley told the AP. “We intend to prove that in court.”

The re-filed lawsuit is separate from previously reported litigation between the two companies. In 2007, Ford filed a lawsuit against Navistar involving 2007 engine pricing and prior period warranty claims on Power Stroke diesel engines. Navistar countersued, stating that pricing is consistent with contractual agreements and that the warranty claims are without merit. Navistar later amended its countercomplaint and asked for more than $2 billion in damages.