Honda introduced the Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink™ system in its 2004 model year Acura vehicles. Honda promotes Acura as its luxury brand, offering advanced technology and high performance. The HandsFreeLink™ system was initially offered as a luxury add-on but soon became a standard feature of Acura models. The hands-free interface of the HandsFreeLink™ allows drivers to use their phones without using their hands. Drivers “pair” a smartphone with the car, allowing calls to be made using a microphone and the speakers in the car, and enabling the phone to receive voice commands such as “call home” or “call my office” through the car’s system to dial certain numbers or places.
As alleged, the HandsFreeLink™ system is defective. It becomes locked into the “on” position even if not in use and remains “on” even after the car’s ignition switch is turned off. Once locked “on,” the HandsFreeLink™ unit exerts a continuous, substantial, and (in Honda’s words) “parasitic” electric drain on the vehicle’s electric system. This drain depletes and consumes batteries, and leads to premature failure of other essential electric components—such as alternators, which are forced to compensate for the failing batteries. Acura owners are left with cars that will not reliably start, electrical systems prone to fail even while the car is being driven, and essential electrical parts such as batteries and alternators that must be serviced and replaced.
The complaint contends that Honda has known about this defect in the HandsFreeLink™ system since at least June 2005 but has not warned its customers. As a result, Plaintiff and class members have had to pay out of pocket to replace drained batteries and other electrical components, unaware that the real problem is the HandsFreeLink™ system. By the time customers discover the defect resides in the HandsFreeLink™ system (if they ever do), the warranty period is typically expired. Thus, Plaintiff and class members are left to choose between replacing the costly HandsFreeLink™ unit—with no guarantee that the replacement HandsFreeLink™ unit will not also be defective— or paying to disconnect their HandsFreeLink™ system and losing the use of this feature entirely.
Honda continues to sell and lease vehicles with HandsFreeLink™ without disclosing the defect to consumers. 5. Plaintiff seeks relief for himself and a class of all other consumers who purchased or leased Acura vehicles equipped with a HandsFreeLink™ system under California law or, in the alternative, a class of Acura owners in Washington, to redress the harm they have suffered as a result of this defective technology. Plaintiff requests an award of damages and appropriate equitable relief, including an order enjoining Honda from continuing to sell vehicles with the defective HandsFreeLink™ system and requiring Honda to disclose the defect to current Acura owners and repair their vehicles.
Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against American Honda Motor Company, Inc. (“Honda” or “Defendant”) on behalf of owners of 2012-2015 model year Honda vehicles (“Class Vehicles”) claiming the Class Vehicles are defective in material or workmanship in that their electrical wiring is coated with soy-based insulation–a type of insulation that Honda implemented relatively recently that is purportedly more environmentally friendly and less expensive than traditional electrical insulation.
Unbeknownst to Plaintiffs, however, a real and continuous unintended and undesired consequence of this soy-based insulation material is that it attracts rodents and other animals that are drawn by the soy content of the insulation, and proceed to chew through the insulation and electrical wires that the insulation coats.
Owners of the Class Vehicles, like Plaintiffs, are then left with a disabled or otherwise improperly functioning vehicle with an electrical system whose wiring has been chewed through.
Plaintiffs allege breach of express warranty, violations of the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2301, et .seq., and seek monetary and declaratory relief on behalf of a nationwide class.
Class Action Complaint
Honda is recalling certain model year 2016 Honda Pilot 2WD vehicles manufactured May 4, 2015, to September 8, 2015 and 2016 Pilot 4WD vehicles manufactured May 7, 2015 to September 4, 2015. In the affected vehicles, when one of the safety systems such as tire pressure monitoring, anti-lock braking or electronic stability control malfunctions, there is potential that the instrument panel will not illuminate the corresponding warning light, however the warning lamps will illuminate when the ignition is turned off and then turned back on. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 126, “Electronic stability control systems”, number 135, “Light vehicle brake systems” and number 138, “Tire pressure monitoring systems”.
If a safety system cannot immediately warn the driver when needed, the driver may be at increased risk of a crash.
Approximately 35,400 vehicles are affected by the recall
Honda will notify owners, and dealers will update the instrument cluster software, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin November 27, 2015.
American Honda Motor Co. is recalling certain model year 2013-2015 Honda CBR500 motorcycles manufactured January 24, 2013, to May 14, 2015, and 2013-2015 CB500 motorcycles manufactured January 31, 2013, to May 16, 2015. The affected motorcycles may experience the fuel level sensor float arm becoming deformed due to exposure to environmental and roadway conditions. This deformation can cause the float arm to separate from the fuel level sensor body.
If the float arm separates from the sensor body, it can give the fuel meter inaccurate information, or in some cases the float may contact the positive and negative terminals causing an electrical short. Either condition may cause the vehicle to stall, increasing the risk of a crash.
Approximately 14,575 motorcycles are affected by the recall.
Honda will notify owners, and dealers will replace the fuel level sensor assembly, free of charge. The recall began on September 15, 2015.
Honda recently introduced its 2015 model year CR-V, announcing that the new model year would come with substantial upgrades. Most prominently, Honda advertised a new engine and transmission that was projected to make the 2015 CR-V “best-in-class” in fuel efficiency.
According to the complaint Honda’s quest to improve the CR-V’s fuel efficiency came with a significant tradeoff. Typically, auto manufacturers must balance fuel efficiency against customer comfort since several methods for improving fuel efficiency also cause noise, vibration, and harshness problems. In its over-eagerness to optimize the CR-V’s fuel economy, Honda produced a vehicle that experiences a substantial vibration at idle and low speeds—a vibration that drivers describe as “severe,” “extremely distracting,” and “nauseating.”
Honda knew about the vibration before it began selling the 2015 CR-V and had several viable options for mitigating the problem. But modifying the CR-V would either have reduced its fuel efficiency or required Honda to install costly components to dampen the vibration. Alternatively, Honda could have disclosed to consumers that the CR-V is prone to severe vibrating, and allowed consumers to make an informed purchasing decision using that knowledge.
As alleged, Honda chose instead to sell the CR-V as is. Not trusting that consumers would opt to buy a CR-V if they knew of the vibration in advance, Honda hid the problem from the car-buying public. When customers return (often just days later) to complain, Honda refuses to fix the problem or refund their money.
Honda is recalling certain model year 2014-2015 Acura MDX 2WD and AWD, RLX and 2014 Acura RLX Hybrid vehicles. In certain driving conditions, the Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) may incorrectly interpret certain roadside objects such as metal fences or metal guardrails as obstacles and unexpectedly apply the brakes.
If the CMBS unexpectedly applies emergency braking force while driving, there is an increased risk of a crash.
Approximately 19,502 vehicles are affected by the recall
Honda will notify owners, and dealers will update the CMBS software, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.
American Honda Motor Co. is recalling certain model year 2001-2010 and 2012 GL1800 and 2001-2005 GL1800A motorcycles. The rear brakes of the affected motorcycles may drag after the brakes are released. A rear brake that drags may increase the risk of a vehicle crash. Additionally, extended riding with the rear brake dragging could generate enough heat to result in a fire.
126,000 motorcycles are affected by the recall.
The remedy for this issue has not been determined. Honda will send owners an interim notification describing how to inspect their motorcycle for rear brake drag. A second notification will be sent when a remedy is available. The recall is expected to begin in September 2014.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. is recalling certain model year 2006 Acura RSX vehicles manufactured January 18, 2006, through August 12, 2006; and model year 2006-2007 Honda S2000 vehicles manufactured January 19, 2006, through November 13, 2006. The brake booster may be unable to maintain a vacuum when the brake pedal is depressed, decreasing brake assist.
With reduced braking assistance, the vehicle may require additional brake pedal force to prevent a lengthened stopping distance, increasing the risk of a crash.
Honda will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the brake booster assembly. If necessary, the dealers will replace the booster assembly free of charge. The recall is expected to begin July 12, 2013.
Honda is recalling certain model year 2012-2013 CR-V, Odyssey, and model year 2013 Acura RDX vehicles. During sub-freezing temperatures, the brake-shift interlock blocking mechanism may become slow and allow the gear selector to be moved from the Park position without pressing the brake pedal. As such, these vehicles fail to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 114, “Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention.”
If the gear selector is moved from the park position without pressing the brake pedal it can allow the vehicle to roll away, increasing the risk of a crash.
Honda will notify owners and instruct them to take their vehicle to a Honda or Acura dealer. The dealer will install an updated brake shift interlock blocking mechanism free of charge. The recall is expected to begin May 13, 2013.
Honda is recalling certain model year 2005 Pilot vehicles manufactured July 29, 2004, through August 29, 2005; model year 2005-2006 Acura MDX vehicles manufactured September 16, 2004, through September 22, 2005; and model year 2005 Acura RL vehicles manufactured March 1, 2004, through June 29, 2005. An electrical capacitor may have been damaged during the manufacturing of the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) control module causing intermittent, automatic, minor brake application. However, if the driver applies the brakes while the VSA is malfunctioning, the vehicle may come to an abrupt stop. Additionally, due to a loose ground connection, certain model year 2005 Pilots have a VSA system that may apply partial brake force, without the illumination of the brake lights, whether or not the driver is using the brakes.
Sudden inadvertent braking, especially without illumination of the brake lights, may increase the risk of a vehicle crash.
Owners will be notified and instructed to take their vehicles to a dealer of their respective brand. The dealer will install a partial wiring harness containing a capacitor for the VSA modulator, free of charge. The affected model year 2005 Pilots will have their ground connection tightened. The recall is expected to begin on, or about, April 12, 2013.