Ford v Cena

By John B. Swift posted 04-02-2018 08:35


By my count, I’ve owned 10 cars in my life. Sadly, I have yet to be selected by any car manufacturer to receive the “privilege” of owning a limited edition supercar. Truth be told, I’ve never actually applied, and you have to play to win. But Ford’s recent selection process for the 2017 GT wasn’t actually random, and I’m not a famous car vlogger anyway.

John Cena, mostly of WWE fame among other things, has a car vlog and was selected by Ford to get one of the 500 GTs Ford was going to make for 2017. There was a catch: he could not sell the car for a full two years after purchase. This strikes me as a somewhat strange condition to place on the purchase of a vehicle. After all, if Ford really wanted that much control over this particular run of cars, it surely could have just leased them like GM did with the EV1. (If you don’t know how that turned out, watch Who Killed the Electric Car?)

Of course, Cena went ahead and sold his GT (after vlogging about it) before the expiration of the 24-month period. So Ford sued him, claiming breach of the resale restriction and also damage to Ford’s brand. Ford is asking for any profit Cena made on the resale, the right to buy the GT back at the original purchase price, and threshold $75k in damages for federal court. (You can check out the complaint here.)

Cena has filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that while Ford had initially included the resale clause in the order confirmation and elsewhere, the final sales agreement with the dealer did not include that clause. I’ll be curious to see where the judge goes on this one.