General Motors faces a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of customers who claim GMC Acadia vehicles have defective gear shifters, which prevent them from properly placing the sport utility vehicle (SUV) in “Park” and turning the engine off.
The complaint was filed by Brandy Smith in the United States District Court Eastern District of Texas on May 14, alleging that the U.S. auto maker has known about problems with an intermittent gear shifter, yet has failed to offer a repair remedy.
Smith, who seeks class action status to pursue damages on behalf of similarly situated owners of GMC Acadia SUVs, alleges General Motors continued to manufacture and sell the vehicles for profit without offering a remedy, despite the known defect.
Smith, of Texas, claims she and hundreds of thousands of others who have purchased certain GMC Acadia models are often unable to shut off their vehicles and, to avoid battery discharge, are forced to resort to all sort of gimmicks to get their vehicles to detect that the shift lever is in fact in “Park.”
The GMC Acadia class action indicates Smith has been forced to repeatedly find new methods of turning off her vehicle, such as wiggling the shifter, shift it through its gears, and start and shut off the engine. Smith claims she has found herself stranded inside her vehicle at home, at work, at school, and at various other places away from home, unable to shut her vehicle off.
Despite Smith reporting the issues to General Motors authorized dealerships at least six times, she was told that since the intermittent defect was not noticed at the time the vehicle was inspected, no repairs could be made.
The lawsuit claims GM has been aware of the defect since at least May 29, 2018, when the manufacturer issued a Technical Service Bulletin warning customers that the vehicles may not shut off when the vehicle is put in the “Park” position.
On October 3, 2018, GM issued a subsequent announcement indicating the defect may be due to the “park switch in the transmission control (shifter) assembly not pulling BCM signal low to electronically show Park condition.” Within the notice, GM stated the defect can be corrected by replacing the transmission control assembly, yet has not offered customers experiencing the issue any remedy, nor have they issued an official recall campaign, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint details several related incidents which have been reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), all expressing concerns over how the vehicle must be left running, which poses a theft and drained battery risk that could leave consumers and their occupants stranded.
As a result of this defect, Smith claims the value, safety, and use of the vehicle are diminished, leaving the burden of the defects on the consumers, all while GM profits.
Her complaint presents claims General Motors breached its contract with customers and failed to provide repairs required under the vehicle warranty, among other allegations. Further, Smith alleges GM will continue to benefit from its unlawful conduct by selling and leasing more vehicles, at a higher price, and avoiding warranty obligations, while consumers suffer from the defect.
The lawsuit calls for GM to pay monetary damages to Smith and all other similarly situated consumers who either purchased or leased 2017 through 2018 GMC Acadia vehicles in the form of a refund of the full contract price, punitive damages against the manufacturer, and a recognition of the impacted vehicles for an official recall and repair campaign.