Well-known Ford Mustang tuning firm Saleen Automotive is potentially in a bit of hot water. Currently, Saleen's finances aren't what you'd call robust, and now, a Ford dealership in Texas is suing the company over breach of contract and claims of fraud. An additional Ford dealership in Tennessee claims that Saleen has yet to deliver a modified Mustang it ordered over a year ago.
Nick Bunkley of Automotive News has the details of the lawsuit and the Tennessee dealer's claims in . Red McCombs Ford in San Antonio, Texas claims that three 2015 Mustangs it ordered arrived six months after they were promised and missing $22,000 in upgrades. It's suing for a refund on the parts missing and for additional expenses incurred in ordering these vehicles.
As Automotive News points out, the amount Red McCombs Ford is suing for amounts to around half the cash that Saleen Automotive Inc., a publicly traded company, had at the end of 2015. The on its investor site indicated that Saleen had just $60,850 on hand.
Friendship Ford of Bristol, Tenn. isn't suing Saleen, but its claims against the company are perhaps more damning than those of Red McCombs Ford. It ordered a "Yellow Label" Mustang from Saleen over a year ago, which was promised to be delivered by the end of 2015. CEO Steve Saleen told Automotive News that it shipped the Mustang in early June, but the dealer says it has yet to arrive.
"Every month this year, it's been another story," said Friendship Ford general manager Denny Fruth. "I actually thought about jumping on an airplane to L.A. and walking in the shop to see if it's in there.
Steve Saleen says these issues aren't representative of his company on the whole, and uses its troubled recent history as a defense for any delays.
Saleen has lent his name to tuned Mustangs for over 30 years, though Saleen Automotive Inc. was only established in 2012, and became publicly traded in 2013. Steve Saleen left his original company, Saleen Inc., in 2007, losing the right to use his name in the process. When Saleen Inc. went bankrupt in 2012, he and formed Saleen Automotive Inc.
He told Automotive News that it was a "small miracle" that Saleen Automotive was still around today after all of its trouble. Saleen Automotive has been in and out of the news in recent years more for its and than its cars.
Steve Saleen also says the issues these dealers claim have a lot to do with the fact that the company is working with a new Mustang, though it announced its 2015 S302 Mustang nearly two years ago. He admitted that there have been delays in deliveries, but claims that it's delivered "hundreds" of modified current-generation Mustangs.
"This is a new model, so it takes a while for us to get up to a rhythm here," Saleen told Automotive News. "We don't buy anything off the shelf. We completely re-engineer the vehicle." Saleen told Automotive News he was unaware of the Red McCombs lawsuit until the reporter brought it to his attention, then described it as "a little frivolous."
There's a lot of "he said, he said" going on here, but it's clear that Saleen Automotive is in trouble. Even if Saleen wins the suit against Red McCombs Ford, it'll cost the company precious cash, and there's still the matter of Friendship Ford's missing Mustang.