Ford Motor is trying to bodyslam actor and WWE wrestling superstar John Cena for selling his 2017 Ford GT supercar to net a profit soon after taking possession in violation of his purchase agreement.
In a case filed in U.S. District Court in Michigan, Ford says Cena promised in his application to own the supercar, for which he paid $463,376, for at least two years. He signed an agreement for the 2017 car in January, the lawsuit says.
Ford discovered that he had sold, or "flipped" it, soon after taking possession.
Cena is a rising star in the movie world, having followed in the footsteps of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in making the transition from the ring to the big screen. He made headlines over the summer when he proposed in the ring to fellow wrestler Nikki Bella during WrestleMania.
"In his application, Mr. Cena portrayed himself as an enthusiast of high-end automobiles, as well as the Ford brand, by attaching to his application, photographs, video clips, and web posts of himself in, and promoting, high-end cars," the lawsuit reads.
"Mr. Cena is a known car collector, and referenced numerous limited edition and high-end vehicles that he owned and collected at the time of his application, including a model year 2006 Ford GT," it adds.
Also, Ford says Cena, who lives in Florida, said the movie star has “over 50 million unique social voices on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”
There was no immediate comment from Cena. But Ford says in the lawsuit that when the actor was confronted about the resale, he said “I completely understand and as stated am willing to work with you and Ford to make it right. My sincerest apologies.”
When Ford promised to buy the car back at the purchase price, Cena indicated he would be amenable.
But in selling the car at a profit, Cena "improperly benefited to Ford’s detriment by receiving a large profit from the resale," the complaint said, adding: "Ford also has lost almost two years of ambassadorship and brand value that Mr. Cena would have offered by owning the vehicle for the contractually required time."
The Ford GT was created to showcase the automaker's automotive performance prowess. In the auto world, it's known as a "halo car," meant to burnish the image of the brand even if sales are low.
Ford only plans to make about 1,000 of them over the next several years. It has a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that develops 647 horsepower.