Ford sued Cena in Detroit federal court on Thursday, asserting claims of fraud, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
The automaker, represented by attorney Jong-Ju Chang with Detroit-based Dykema Gossett, says it selected the former World Wrestling Entertainment champion to purchase a custom-build 2017 Ford GT from thousands of applicants.
“Mr. Cena flipped his vehicle shortly after taking delivery of it, despite his agreement with Ford to maintain ownership of the vehicle for 24 months,” according to Ford’s lawsuit.
Ford claims Cena “unfairly made a large profit” and that the company lost “brand value, ambassador activity and customer goodwill due to the improper sale.”
According to the lawsuit, the GT is a two-seat sports car “designed to deliver extraordinary speed and exceptional handling found only in purpose-built racing cars.”
Ford says it plans to sell only 1,000 of the 647-horsepower GT cars over the next several years at a base price of $450,000.
The company intended the GT to be for car collectors and enthusiasts, as well as “influencers and ambassadors of the vehicle and the Ford brand,” the complaint states. Therefore, those who buy the GT agree not to resell them for two years.
According to Ford, Cena posted a video for his application to purchase the GT, but it has been taken offline.
The auto giant quoted Cena as stating in his application, “I am so absolutely astounded by what the Ford team has done with this new design, if I were to be deemed fit for ownership I would most certainly use every vehicle of communication to let the world know about the car, the brand, and the experience.”
Ford also says Cena is a known car collector who stated on his application that he had owned a 2006 Ford GT. Cena also allegedly represented that he had “over 50 million unique social voices on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”
According to the complaint, Cena made two payments totaling $463,376 and took possession of the car after it was delivered to Elder Ford in Naples, Fla., on Sept. 23.
However, Ford says it learned on Oct. 20 that Cena had already sold the car.
“In a telephone call, [a] Ford representative directly asked Mr. Cena if he had sold his 2017 Ford GT, to which Mr. Cena responded that he did,” the lawsuit states.
Regarding the contract violation, Ford alleges Cena texted the representative: “I completely understand and as stated am willing to work with you and Ford to make it right. My sincerest apologies.”
Ford claims it tried to recover the car and that Cena said he would “get to work on this right away.”
“Mr. Cena still has failed to provide any documentation concerning the improper re-sale and is now refusing to do so, despite his earlier indications otherwise,” the complaint states.
Ford seeks a court order for Cena to disgorge his profits to the auto maker from the resale of his 2017 GT.
A Ford spokesman said the company does not comment on legal or individual customer matters.
An attorney for WWE did not respond Friday to an email request for comment.
Cena debuted in WWE in 2002. He has won 16 World titles, tying the record set by Ric Flair.
Cena has branched out into other forms of entertainment as well. In addition to appearing as a co-host on NBC’s “Today” show, he has appeared on the big screen in “Trainwreck” and “Daddy’s Home 2.”
He will also provide the voice of the animated bull “Ferdinand” when that movie opens on Dec. 15.