Hyundai named in class action over defect in 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Elantra vehicles

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Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of all persons in the United States who purchased or leased any Hyundai Veloster, Hyundai Sonata (Eco) and Hyundai Elantra (Eco) vehicles equipped with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) (collectively, “Hyundai Vehicles” or “Class Vehicles”)1 designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed, sold, warranted, and serviced by Hyundai Motor America, a California corporation.

In October 2014, Hyundai premiered its 7-speed DCT, designed to “provide an improvement in fuel consumption and CO2 emission compared to a conventional six-gear automated transmission, while acceleration performance increases” and featuring two dry clutches that transfer engine power “independently into the odd and even gear train to always be ready to shift into the next gear.”2 However, Plaintiffs allege on information and belief that Hyundai’s 7-speed DCT contains a design defect in the Transmission Control Module (“TCM”) that causes, among other problems, failure to shift, stalling, delayed acceleration, or loss of power (“TCM Defect”). The TCM is a small electronic component within the powertrain that processes data from various sensors throughout the engine in order to determine the optimal gear for shifting and fuel-economy.

On information and belief, the TCM is defective because it fails to interpret data from the vehicle’s sensors properly, thus miscalculating both the appropriate gear and the correct shift timing, which results in an unresponsive accelerator pedal and stalling. Since 20 4. 15, in an effort to address owner complaints regarding the TCM Defect, Hyundai has issued Technical Service Bulletins (“TSBs”), as detailed below. However, these efforts failed to resolve the TCM Defect.

The TCM Defect causes unsafe conditions, including the transmission failing to shift, stalling, and delayed or unresponsive acceleration, especially from a stop. These conditions are hazardous because they severely affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle during normal driving conditions and prevent drivers from accelerating to maintain safe speeds in traffic. For example, the TCM Defect may make it difficult for drivers to accelerate safely from traffic stops because Class Members’ vehicles hesitate, fail to shift gears, and stall when drivers try to accelerate from stops.

Since at least 2015, through consumer complaints and dealership repair orders, among other internal sources, Defendant knew or should have known that the 7-speed DCT in the Class Vehicles contained a design defect that diminishes the drivability of the Class Vehicles and causes safety hazards, in part because the same concerns were expressed regarding the 2016-2017 Hyundai Tucson that is equipped with the same 7-speed DCT and TCM.

On information and belief, Defendant’s corporate officers, directors, or managers knew about the TCM Defect but failed to disclose it to Plaintiffs and Class Members, at the time of sale, lease, repair, and thereafter. In fact, in or around August 2016, Hyundai issued a Technical Service Bulletin (“TSB”) for Hyundai Tucson vehicles equipped with the 7- speed DCT and a limited recall in September 2016 for certain of the same vehicles informing its dealers that a faulty “transmission clutch application logic can result in a delayed engagement when accelerating from a stop” or fail to accelerate at all “if the accelerator pedal is repeatedly cycled.” Hyundai dealers were instructed to reprogram the TCM in the affected vehicles. However, both the TSB and the recall were limited to the 2016 Tucson, despite owners complaining of similar issues in other Hyundai vehicles equipped with the same 7-speed DCT.

Because Hyundai will not notify Class Members that the 7-speed DCT is defective, Plaintiffs and Class Members (as well as members of the general public) remain subject to dangerous transmission malfunctions that can occur without warning. As alleged, the alleged TCM Defect was inherent in each Hyundai Vehicle and

was present in each Hyundai Vehicle at the time of sale. Hyundai knew about and concealed the TCM Defect present in every Class Vehicle, as well as its attendant hazardous conditions, from Plaintiffs and Class Members, at the time of sale, lease, repair, and thereafter. In fact, instead of repairing the defects in the 7-speed DCT, Hyundai either refused to acknowledge their existence or performed repairs that simply masked them.

If they had known about these defects at the time of sale or lease, Plaintiffs and Class Members would not have purchased or leased the vehicles.

Complaint

Subaru recalls vehicles with turbo-charged engines over defect in secondary air injection pumps

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Subaru of America, Inc. (Subaru) is recalling certain model year 2007-2009 model year Legacy and Outback vehicles, 2008-2014 Impreza vehicles and 2009-2013 Forester vehicles, all equipped with turbo-charged engines. The relay that controls the secondary air injection pump may fail, causing the pump to continuously operate and overheat.

100,127 vehicles are affected by the recall

If the air injection pump overheats, it may melt and increase the risk of a fire.

Subaru will notify owners, and dealers will replace the secondary air injection pump relay, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

Kia named in class action lawsuit over panoramic sunroofs that shatter

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Historically, automobile sunroofs have been modestly sized, spanning just a small portion of the roof over the driver and front passenger seats. Starting in the mid-2000s, manufacturers introduced a substantially larger style of “panoramic” sunroof, which spans almost the whole roof. These sunroofs are aesthetically pleasing, and thus command a premium price, but also pose new and significant engineering challenges. Replacing metal roofs with large plates of glass requires precision in the strengthening, attachment, and stabilization of the glass.

Several manufacturers have failed to meet these demands, with at least three manufacturers issuing safety recalls because their panoramic sunroofs were spontaneously shattering.

Several Kia models have the same problem. More than two hundred Kia drivers have complained that their panoramic sunroofs shattered suddenly and without warning. The shattering occurs so powerfully that some startled drivers have compared the sound to a gunshot followed by shards of glass raining down on vehicle occupants.

Kia admits in a submission to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) that its vehicles are “a leader in such incidents, but even though its competitors and the federal government have acknowledged a seemingly obvious truth—that shattering sunroofs are dangerous—Kia not only refuses to warn drivers of the danger, but also continues to sell and lease the vehicles without disclosing the defect to consumers.

As alleged, Kia’s conduct violates well-established consumer protection laws of numerous states, including but not limited to New York. On behalf of the classes he proposes to represent, Plaintiff seek awards of damages and appropriate equitable relief, including an order enjoining Kia from continuing to sell vehicles with defective sunroofs and requiring Kia to disclose the defect to current owners and leasees of the Class Vehicles (2011-2015 model year Sorento, Optima, and Sportage, and the 2014-2015 model year Soul and Cadenza models)

COMPLAINT

Porsche named in class action lawsuit over faulty alternator cable in 2005-2008 Porsche 911 vehicles

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Plaintiff, a California resident and owner of a 2007 Porsche 911 vehicle, brings this action on behalf of himself and all other similarly situated owners and lessees within California of 2005-2008 Porsche 911 Vehicles.  As alleged, the Class Vehicles are equipped with a defective alternator cable that, due to its defective nature, malfunctions and thereby prevents the alternator from properly charging the battery. As a result of the defective alternator cable, the vehicle battery is left insufficiently charged, potentially rendering the vehicle inoperable as there is insufficient electric charge to power the car.

Vehicles driven at the time the charge dissipates can be rendered disabled in the middle of a road or highway. If the failure occurs in the evening, or during rain, the insufficient battery charge may also render the vehicle’s headlights and other electrical equipment inoperable even before the vehicle is disabled. Either situation poses a real and significant safety risk.

Defendant Porsche Cars North America, Inc. has known about this defect but has failed to make any disclosure of it and has failed to take any corrective action. Plaintiff, whose vehicle suffered the fate of a depleted battery due to a defective alternator cable, therefore, brings this action to seek redress for Porsche’s violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”) and Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”).

Ferrari named in class action lawsuit over defect that causes cause sudden engine failure

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The class action is brought on behalf of a nationwide class of all persons who are current or former owners and/or lessees of model year 2004 through 2009 Ferrari F430 automobiles

 

The complaint alleges that Defendant designed, manufactured, distributed, and sold vehicles that contained one or more design flaws and/or defects that cause foreign matter including, but not limited to, pieces of the exhaust manifold and other parts which are downstream of the engine, to be sucked back into the engine resulting in damage to the engine’s component parts and, ultimately, complete engine failure (the “Defect”).

The Defect can at any time cause sudden engine failure resulting in total loss of power to the vehicle including while operating at highway speeds. The Defect exists regardless of driving conditions and compliance with workmanship, and prematurely fail under ordinary driving conditions and far in advance of their recommended maintenance schedule.

As alleged, Ferrari has purposefully concealed, and continue to conceal, their knowledge of the Defect so as to be able to take the position with their customers that the written warranty period “expired” before the Defect manifests. Despite the safety risk to Class Vehicle occupants, Defendants failed to disclose material information regarding the Defect in an attempt to avoid the cost of repair and, instead, unfairly shift the cost of repair to Class Members.

The Defect presents a substantial safety risk because it can cause sudden engine failure and complete loss of vehicle power at any time and without warning.

 

Mercedes named in class action lawsuit over defect in the 722.9 7G-Tronic automatic transmission

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Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated owners and lessees in California of Mercedes Benz automobiles equipped with the 722.9 7G-Tronic automatic transmission.  As detailed in the complaint, the subject transmission is defective, having a defect in the transmission’s valve body and conductor plate that causes the transmission to fail prematurely and need replacement well before the useful life of the transmission or the vehicle in which it is housed.

As alleged, Defendant Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (“MBUSA” or “Defendant”) has known about this defect for years, circulating internal Technical Service Bulletins to its factory-authorized dealerships that detail the nature of the transmission problem. Indeed, the defective 722.9 transmission has failed to such a widespread extent that, at one point, MBUSA was unable to supply sufficient replacement transmission components to have the defective transmissions repaired and, as a result, for a long time, MBUSA prevented independent service stations from purchasing such replacement parts.   Worse yet, when the transmission valve body or conductor plate fails in the Mercedes-Benz 722.9 transmission, a real safety hazard ensues.  As a result of the defect, the transmission will have a difficult time shifting from first to second gear, and will not shift to higher gears, causing the vehicle to be unable to be driven at any speed.  The fault will then cause the transmission to enter what is referred to as “Limp Mode,” leaving the car to “limp” along the roadway in a very restricted and limited fashion.   Despite this and despite the clear defect and Defendant’s knowledge of it, MBUSA has failed to take any action.  Because the defective transmission typically manifests itself outside the 4 year/50,000 mile durations limit of MBUSA’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty, MBUSA washes its hands of any liability, fails to disclose this defect, and leave consumers of the affected vehicles, like Plaintiffs, to pay for the costly repair of the transmission to the tune of several thousands of dollars.

Plaintiffs, who own a 2007 Mercedes-Benz S-550 originally equipped with the defective 722.9 transmission suffered this fate, had their vehicle’s transmission fail repeatedly on the roadway when the car had just 57,000 miles or so, and were denied any consideration by MBUSA.   Given MBUSA’s failure to stand behind its product, Plaintiffs were forced to and did pay over $2,000 to have the transmission valve body replaced.  Needless to say, transmissions in cars having only 57,000 miles should not fail—much less should they fail by the thousands in Mercedes-Benz cars across the country.  Plaintiffs file this lawsuit to seek redress for MBUSA’s violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”) and California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”).

MBUSA Complaint

Ford investigated over possible defect in torque converters in Windstar and Taurus models.

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Lawyers are investigating possible defects in the torque converters in Ford Taurus and Windstar vehicles. The vehicles experience sheering or stripping of the torque converter which are the result of pressure from the pump shaft, particularly in model years, 2006-2010. The result is replacement of these units and possibly damage to other related equipment.

If you have experienced this problem or want more information about this potential class action lawsuit, please contact us using the Contact A Lawyer Privately box below. Alternatively, you we welcome to share your experiences publicly by submitting a response below.

Volvo named in class action lawsuit over defect in rdar satellite receiver

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Defendant Volvo Cars of North America, LLC (“Volvo”) builds cars with the ability to receive a satellite radio signal. Since at least 2008, all Volvo cars include this feature, which is useful only to car owners who subscribe to a third-party service that broadcasts radio content from a satellite.

As alleged in the complaint, there is a defect in the software for the satellite receiver—called an “rdar”—installed in Volvos whereby the device continues to search for a satellite signal even when the car is not running. This drains the car’s battery when the car is not running, which in turn prevents the car owner from starting their car.

According to the complaint, Volvo knows all about this defect, which is easily fixed with a “software upgrade” to the rdar. Volvo has not disclosed this defect to its customers, however. Moreover, Volvo is effectively holding its customers hostage by refusing to install the “software upgrade” without a charge of hundreds of dollars to repair a defective device that is unnecessary for the car’s safe operation and is, in many cases, simply unwanted.

This case seeks redress for the harm caused by Volvo’s conduct towards its customers and is brought on behalf of a class consisting of: All persons in the United States who are current or former owners of a Volvo branded car marketed, distributed, and/or sold by Defendant with an “rdar.”

Complaint

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opens an investigation of Nissan Versa vehicles pertaining to front suspension coil spring fracture

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The Office of Defects Investigation has received 93 complaints (VOQs) alleging incidents of front suspension coil spring fracture in model year (MY) 2008 through 2010 Nissan Versa passenger cars. Preliminary analysis of the complaints indicates that the coil spring failures occur without warning and can happen at any speed. One complaint (VOQ #10663102) reported the passenger-side coil spring fractured while traveling at 65 mph and caused a sudden tire failure by cutting the inner sidewall 360 degrees. Another complaint ( VOQ #10680740) reported the passenger side coil spring fractured while traveling 40 mph and result in tire puncture and brake line failure.

ODI has also received EWR field report information relating to coil spring failures in the subject vehicles.

A Preliminary Evaluation has been opened to assess the scope, frequency and safety-related consequence of the alleged defect.

Approximately 130,000 vehicles are affected by the investigation

 

NHTSA opens investigation of door latch failure and inadvertent opening on model year 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta vehicles

On September 11, 2014 the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI)of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened Preliminary Evaluation PE14-028 to investigate claims of doors failing to latch and/or inadvertently opening on model year 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta vehicles. ODI has received 207 unique reports related to the alleged problem, with sixty-five claiming that the door(s) opened inadvertently while the vehicle was in motion. Two injuries were reported, both caused by a rebounding door striking a consumer after they attempted to close it. In response to ODI’s Information Request (IR) letter, Ford Motor Company (Ford) responded with 451 unique reports related to the alleged problem.  Ford also submitted 1,079 warranty claims related to door latch failures. Additionally, Ford informed ODI in its IR response that 2013 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles utilize the same door latch as the 2011-13 Fiesta. ODI has received 11 reports on these vehicles, with 4 allegations of inadvertent opening.

According to the ODI, Ford stated that it does not believe that a latched door experiencing this condition will inadvertently unlatch and that there are many overt warnings associated with a door that does not latch.

ODI noted that the rate of occurrence for this failure is comparable to other door latch failure investigations and questions the effectiveness of warning signals given the number of complainants alleging that the door(s) opened while the vehicle was in motion. As a result ODI upgraded the investigation to further assess the scope, frequency and consequence of this failure.

If this has happened to, please share your story.

***** UPDATE ******

Ford Motor Company is issuing a safety recall for approximately 390,000 2012-2014 Ford Fiesta and 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ vehicles for a door latch issue. The door latch in these vehicles may experience a broken pawl spring tab, which typically results in a condition where the door will not latch. If a customer is then able to latch the door, there is potential the door may unlatch while driving, increasing the risk of injury.

Ford is aware of two allegations of soreness resulting from an unlatched door bouncing back when the customer attempted to close it, and one accident allegation when an unlatched door swung open and struck an adjacent vehicle as the driver was pulling into a parking space.

Affected vehicles include certain 2012-2014 Ford Fiesta vehicles built at Cuautitlán Assembly Plant, Feb. 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013; certain 2013-2014 Ford Fusion vehicles built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant, July 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013; and certain 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ vehicles built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant, July 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013.

There are approximately 390,000 vehicles in North America (actual 389,585), including 336,873 in the United States and federalized territories, 30,198 in Canada and 22,514 in Mexico.

Dealers will replace all four door latches at no cost to the customer.