General Motors faces a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of car owners who allege the automobile manufacturer hid information about the risk of problems with vehicle transmissions, which may cause vehicles to jerk, shake, buck or otherwise harshly engage, increasing the risk of accidents.
The complaint (PDF) was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware on May 17, alleging the automaker had longstanding knowledge of safety defects related to the Hydra-Matic 8L90 and 8L45 transmission used in more than 16 different vehicle models, yet neglected to issue a safety recall to address the problem.
Plaintiffs indicate the transmissions had a design flaw that ultimately renders them defective, and requires replacement much sooner than the anticipated lifespan.
According to the lawsuit, the transmissions are prone to internal issues which may cause the torque converter and hydraulic systems to experience excess internal friction due to an improper design. Metal shavings may enter and circulate throughout the transmission, escalating repairs on the torque converter and transmission that the consumer would be responsible for paying when the vehicle went out of manufacturer warranty.
General Motors is alleged to have known about the transmissions problems, which may cause abnormal wearing, sudden acceleration, delay in downshifts, and difficulty or delay in stopping a vehicle.
The Hydra-Matic 8L90 and 8L45 transmission defect is believed to cause the vehicles to lurch forward, cause sudden loss of forward propulsion and significant delays in accelerating, posing safety hazards to drivers, occupants and other vehicles or pedestrians due to the inability for the driver to control the vehicle’s speed, acceleration and deceleration.
The complaint indicates General Motor’s efforts to address the issues have been inadequate, despite continuous complaints being received by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and its own internal records. Rather than recalling the vehicles and redesigning the defective components, General Motors has offered insufficient software updates, parts replacements and other minor remedies that have failed to resolve the defects, according to the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs warn that consumers with the impacted vehicles will ultimately be responsible for paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace the transmission and related components, leaving General Motors “unjustly enriched” at the consumer’s expense.
Vehicles installed with the affected transmissions include the 2015 through 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, 2017 through 2019 Chevrolet Colorado, 2015through 2019 Chevrolet Corvette, 2016 through 2019 Chevrolet Camaro, 2015 through 2019 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, 2016 through 2019 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6, and CTS-V, 2015 through 2019 GMC Sierra, Yukon, and Yukon XL, and Yukon Denali XL, and the 2017 through 2019 GMC Canyon.
Plaintiffs are seeking class action status so that anyone similarly situated may be compensated for alleged unfair and deceptive practices by General Motors.