This is a class action brought by Plaintiff against Defendant, BMW of North America, LLC (“BMW” or “Defendant”), on behalf of all current and former owners and lessees of new and Certified Pre-Owned BMW vehicles equipped with single-turbocharger engines that BMW calls “TwinPower Turbo” engines (“Vehicle(s)” or “Class Vehicles”), challenging BMW’s deceptive sales and marketing of those Vehicles.
Plaintiff brings this class and representative action on behalf of a class of all persons who purchased, leased, and/or currently own or lease, certain new or Certified Pre-Owned “TwinPower Turbo” BMW vehicles using a single-turbo engine.
According to the complaint, in 2009, BMW unveiled a new proprietary term called “TwinPower Turbo” to describe all of its turbocharged engines in cars beginning with model year (“MY”) 2010. Used by BMW worldwide, “TwinPower Turbo” is the nomenclature used to describe each turbocharged engine manufactured by BMW. The phrase “TwinPower Turbo” strongly suggests, and is designed to suggest, twin turbos, a well-known, highly prestigious, and powerful engine arrangement that commands a price premium in the market.
From 2006 to 2008 (MY2007-09), BMW manufactured the twin-turbo “N54” engines. BMW’s sales and marketing of its twin-turbo N54 engine created immense publicity and market awareness amongst consumers, existing BMW owners and lessees, and likely BMW purchasers and lessees. The N54 6-cylinder engine generated 8-cylinder-engine levels of horsepower and torque, while maintaining the fuel consumption and weight of a 6-cylinder unit. BMW received numerous auto industry accolades for its N54 engine and sold hundreds of thousands of cars and sports activity vehicles (“SAVs”) equipped with this power plant.
For a variety of reasons, including the significant volume of high pressure fuel pump failures associated with its N54 engine, as well as the need to meet Federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations, BMW significantly scaled down production of its N54 engine, limiting its use to a small subset of its vehicles (e.g., special variants such as its performance 335is coupe and sedan, and Z4 sDrive 35i convertible).
As alleged, BMW replaced the N54 with the “N55,” a single-turbo engine. In other words, it contained just one turbocharger, and was therefore a cheaper, less powerful, less prestigious engine than its twin-turbo N54 predecessor.
BMW described its N55 engine as “TwinPower Turbo” so as to maintain the market prestige built up by its prior twin-turbo N54 engine, and to trade off of the prestige of twin turbos in the marketplace generally. The “TwinPower Turbo” terminology enabled BMW to evoke the recent heritage of its twin-turbo N54 engines and capitalize on the strong, positive, consumer sentiment earned by those engines.
The N55 “TwinPower Turbo” is therefore a “False Twin” – an engine marketed as a TwinPower Turbo to manipulate consumers into believing that the vehicle contained twin turbos, when, in actuality, it contains only a single turbo.. BMW repeated this false marketing practice with its N20, N26, and B38 engines, marketing all of those engines as “TwinPower Turbo,” even though they are single-turbo engines and, therefore, also False Twins.
BMW developed the terminology “TwinPower Turbo” specifically to lead consumers to believe that engines bearing that description used twin turbos. By using its “TwinPower Turbo” nomenclature, BMW reaped profits, prestige, and market share through inflated purchase prices and lease terms accepted by consumers who erroneously believed their BMW vehicles were True Twins, when, in fact, the “TwinPower Turbo” N20, N26, N55 and B38 engines were actually False Twins. BMW unjustly enriched itself by holding out its “TwinPower Turbo” offerings as twin-turbo charged, but simply delivering single turbo- charged vehicles.
BMW’s use of the misleading “TwinPower Turbo” nomenclature continues to this day, as BMW uses “TwinPower Turbo” to describe many single turbo MY 2014 cars, including the 228i, M235i, 320i, 328i, 335i, 428i, 435i, 528i, 535d, 535i, 640i, 740i, 740li, Z4 sDrive28i, Z4 sDrive35i, and Z4 sDrive35is. They are all False Twins.
Plaintiff and the class have been damaged by BMW’s misrepresentations, concealment, and non-disclosure of the true nature of BMW’s “TwinPower Turbo” engines, and because they were misled into purchasing or leasing Vehicles of a quality different than they were led to believe they were obtaining, and ultimately paying more for the Vehicles than they would have if the true nature of the “TwinPower Turbo” engine had been disclosed.