Plaintiffs Claim Hyundai Knew About Issues For Some Time
Houston, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/30/2017 -- On November 21, 2016, a number of Hyundai owners joined together to file suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the automaker over issues with its dual-clutch transmission, used in a number of 2016 and 2017 models. According to court filings, in the case of Nicholas Wylie and Shawna Wylie v. Hyundai Motor America (case # 8:2016cv02102), the plaintiffs allege that the design of the transmission leads to stalls and hazardous failures when shifting.
Nicholas and Shawna Wylie, owners of a 2016 Hyundai Veloster and the lead plaintiffs in the suit, are attempting to form a class action of owners of 2016 Hyundai Veloster Turbos, 2016-2017 Hyundai Tucsons, 2017 Hyundai Elantra Ecos and 2017 Hyundai Sonata Ecos. These Hyundai models all employ the same seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions (or DCT).
According to the plaintiffs, the transmissions' computer systems, known as transmission control modules, are prone to failure during operation. When properly functional, the transmission control module will gather information from the vehicle's sensors and select the optimal gear for shifting and conserving gas. When this control module fails, however, it will incorrectly select the proper gear and shift times. Such failures can cause the accelerator to become delayed in response or unresponsive entirely, potentially leading to a loss of power and dangerous stalls.
In their filing, the Wylies note that "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."
The plaintiffs have alleged that Hyundai was aware of the issues with the transmissions and their control modules as far back as 2015, when a number of consumer complaints and repairs conducted by dealerships should have alerted Hyundai to the widespread problem. (source: http://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2016/hyundai-dual-clutch-transmission-dct-lawsuit.shtml)
The suit goes on to assert that Hyundai was certainly aware of the problems with their dual-clutch transmissions by August 2016, when the carmaker sent service guidelines to its dealerships to help them fix issues with the seven-speed transmissions.
In September 2016, Hyundai was forced to order a limited recall of its 2016 Tucson SUV model when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration intervened. In Hyundai's September recall, dealerships were asked to perform updates to the transmission control modules' software on 2016 Tucson SUVs, but no other models were named in this recall.
The lawsuit is based on the theory that the transmissions in the named Hyundai models behave contrary to how they were advertised; that is, Hyundai represented their dual-clutch transmissions as having superior acceleration and shifting response when compared to other company's transmissions in their marketing campaigns. Notably many transmissions have error codes to warn drivers of potential failures (source: http://www.mytransmissionexperts.com/diagnostic-transmission-error-codes-what-do-they-mean/)
As stated in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs believe that "corporate officers, directors, or managers knew about the TCM [transmission control module] defect but failed to disclose it."
Specifically, the plaintiffs are seeking damages based on claims that Hyundai violated the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act, breached the Magnuson-Moss Act's implied warranty, breached the Nevada state law's implied warranty of merchantability, and were unjustly enriched. No ruling has been made as of yet.
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