Lawsuit: Ferrari rolls back odometers
Former salesman says Fla. dealership maintained device
A Ferrari dealership in Florida maintained a device that allowed it to roll back odometers on the exotic sports cars, a lawsuit filed by a former salesman alleges.
The device, called a Deis Tester, is “likely” in use at other Ferrari dealerships in the U.S. and around the world and that the Italian automaker is informed every time the machine is used for a rollback, says the suit filed by Robert “Bud” Root of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., against dealership chain New Country Motor Car Group.
The lawsuit alleges the dealership where Root worked, Palm Beach Ferrari, “sought to keep the odometer reset procedure secret” to avoid regulatory and criminal consequences. It also was trying to avoid fallout for Ferrari if the existence of the device became known.
“One can only imagine” how many odometer resets have been performed over the past seven years in which the device has been in use worldwide at Ferrari dealerships and “how many times those Ferraris with fraudulent odometer readings have been sold and resold in the marketplace to unsuspecting purchasers,” the lawsuit says.
Ferrari, however, appears to make no secret of what it calls the DEIS system. It’s mentioned in the tech section of the Ferrari U.S. website as a diagnostic tool that can be used in reprogramming a car’s main engine computer.
The suit refers only to one specific rollback. It involved the resetting of the odometer on a 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari that had been purchased in May 2015 for $1.5 million. It had its odometer reset to zero some five months later, the suit says.
Root says he was fired after wrongfully being accused of participating in an odometer rollback.
An attorney for the dealership, Alan Grunspan, said in response to the suit the odometer rollback was done without the dealership’s knowledge or permission.
“The single odometer incident referred to by plaintiff was done after hours, off dealership premises, without dealership’s knowledge, without dealership’s permission and without the dealership’s authorization, by a technician who no longer works for the dealership,” the statement reads.
Ferrari, which is not named as a defendant, said it had no comment on the lawsuit.
After 15 years selling Ferraris at another dealership, Root moved to Ferrari of Palm Beach, which is owned by New Country, according to the suit. By the end of 2015, the suit says Root was generating $2 million in annual profit for the defendants.
Grunspan says Root’s legal action is, at its core, an age discrimination lawsuit that has already taken a lot of twists.