DETROIT--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fiat Chrysler has been hit by a class-action lawsuit accusing it of knowingly selling millions of vehicles with a defect causing them to consume abnormally high amounts of oil and shut down unexpectedly during operation, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.
According to the lawsuit filed Apr. 29, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Fiat Chrysler has been made aware of the low oil pressure defect plaguing owners of its vehicles. “…FCA has expressly acknowledged in other unrelated safety recalls that ‘an engine stall could cause a crash without prior warning,’” the lawsuit says.
Attorneys say the following FCA models with 2.4L TigerShark MultiAir II engines are affected: 2015 - 2016 Chrysler 200, 2013 - 2016 Dodge Dart, 2016 - 2020 Fiat 500X, 2017 - 2020 Fiat Toro, 2014 - 2020 Jeep Cherokee, 2017 - 2020 Jeep Compass, 2015 - 2020 Jeep Renegade and 2015 - 2020 Ram ProMaster City.
“Owners of these vehicles are terrified of sudden, unexpected engine stalls, and left empty-handed by FCA dealerships and technicians who continue to ignore this serious safety hazard,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for vehicle owners in the class action. “It’s only a matter of time before this defect leads to a fatality, with millions of affected vehicles sold by FCA on the road.”
Owners Report “...MAJOR flaw...”
Hundreds of owners of affected Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram vehicles have taken to online forums and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to report the low oil pressure defect, overconsumption and unexpected engine shut offs/shut downs:
- "My car completely stalled as I was going to enter the ramp to the I10. It could have been very bad if it happened once I entered the I10. I had my 1 year old with me in the scorching hot sun of Tucson Arizona waiting for a tow truck."
- "...MAJOR flaw... My brand new Jeep shut off on me (WHILE DRIVING) several different times and I was told at the dealership that it was because I needed an oil change. My dash told me I had 30% left before it needed an oil change. It apparently has a mechanism that will detect either low oil or an oil change needed and just kill the engine... The car never gave an indicator. Any one else experience this huge and very serious issue?"
- "Dealership said there’s been an issue with these using oil. 3 quarts in the first 3000 miles? Never heard of such a thing on a brand new vehicle."
- "I got an oil change and this morning while driving my car shut off again. I checked the oil dip stick and sure thing it had not one single drop of oil! How is that even possible? My car burns the oil completely! I just got an oil change 2 months ago!"
“Rather than being honest about these problems, FCA has engaged in efforts to conceal them by describing the defects as “normal” in a technical service bulletin,” according to the complaint, allowing the automaker to avoid the inevitable economic fallout that would ensue from recalling the millions of affected vehicles.
The lawsuit says the sudden shut offs caused by the defect could be avoided if FCA’s oil indicator system alerted drivers that their engine oil was running low, but it does not. This means drivers only become aware of a dangerously low engine oil level after it causes an engine stall or shut-down.
The lawsuit accuses FCA of violating various state consumer-protection laws, as well as fraudulent concealment. Attorneys are seeking monetary relief for owners of the affected vehicles, as well as punitive damages against the automaker for its fraud and gross negligence.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with nine offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.