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FORD WON'T APPEAL BRONCO RULING

Ford Motor Co. said Friday it has no immediate plans to appeal a federal judge's rejection of a proposed class-action settlement involving owners of its controversial Bronco II sport/utility vehicle.

Instead, Ford plans to vehemently defend the vehicle in court and will pursue motions to dismiss the case, a spokesman said.

The class-action suit involves some 680,000 Bronco II owners who claim their vehicles have lost resale value because they can roll over too easily. Under the proposed settlement, Ford would have provided safety warning materials and inspections.

But U.S. District Judge Morey Sear in New Orleans ruled this week that the settlement gave Bronco II owners "effectively zero," while providing their lawyers with about $4 million in fees. He wrote in his decision that Ford and the plantiffs' attorneys may have been in collusion.

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