October 15, 2021 – Nearly $278 Million Nissan, Infiniti Transmission Settlement Given Initial OK
United States District Judge William L. Campbell has granted preliminary approval to a nearly $278 million settlement between Nissan and the plaintiffs who filed the proposed class action detailed on this page.
According to a 13-page order submitted on October 13, approximately 1.9 million Nissan and Infiniti vehicles are covered by the $277,695,000 settlement, whose terms Judge Campbell said were “presumptively fair, reasonable and adequate.” The settlement includes a warranty extension, cash reimbursement for repair and replacement costs, and vouchers.
Drivers eligible to participate in the settlement are current and former owners and lessees of 2014-2018 model year Nissan Rogues, 2015-2018 model year Nissan Pathfinders and 2015-2018 model year Infiniti QX60 vehicles equipped with a CVT.
Pursuant to the settlement, Nissan has agreed to extend the cars’ warranties as they relate to transmission assembly by 24 months or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Nissan and Infiniti drivers who submit claims for reimbursement for repairs and replacements made during the warranty extension period can recoup 100 percent of what they spent on parts and labor at an authorized Nissan or Infiniti dealer or up to $5,000 spent at a non-authorized repair facility.
Nissan will provide the same reimbursement if a Nissan or Infiniti dealer recommended a CVT repair within the warranty extension period but the repair was performed outside of that time frame, as long as the repair is performed within 90 days after the date notices are sent out or the vehicle reaching 95,000 miles, whichever occurs earlier.
Moreover, current and former Nissan and Infiniti drivers who had two or more transmission repairs may be able to obtain a $1,000 voucher to put toward the purchase or lease of a new Nissan or Infiniti if they opt not to submit a claim for reimbursement.
Those covered by the deal are expected to receive notice in the mail with more information on how to recover benefits. It may take up to 120 days for these notices to be sent out.
A final fairness hearing is on the books for May 23, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nissan denies the existence of any defect.
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The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) found in certain 2014-2016 model year Nissan Rogue vehicles suffers from a design and/or manufacturing defect, a proposed class action says.
Filed in Tennessee’s Middle District Court, the 55-page lawsuit alleges Nissan of North America and Nissan Motor Co. have knowingly sold Rogue models with CVTs that exhibit a “significant delay” when a driver attempts to accelerate from a stop, merge onto highway traffic or pass another vehicle.
Whereas the segmented steel belt inside of a CVT should smoothly and continuously adjust to change the gear reduction ratio, the transmissions found in 2014-2016 Rogues exhibit a delay that’s typically accompanied by the engine revving while the driver depresses the gas pedal with “little to no increase in speed,” the complaint claims. According to the suit, Nissan Rogue drivers have also experienced and reported stalling, jerking, lurching, juddering, hesitation and/or shaking while driving their vehicles, as well as premature transmission failure.
The apparent CVT defect has been documented to occur without warning while a vehicle is being operated normally, and poses “an extreme and unreasonable safety hazard,” the lawsuit says.
“These safety hazards include being unable to maintain the proper speed to integrate seamlessly into the flow of traffic, especially on highways or freeways, putting drivers at risk of being rear ended or otherwise causing an accident unless they pull off the road,” the suit stresses.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants have known since at least 2013 that the transmissions in certain Rogue models are plagued by a defect yet have continued to sell and lease the vehicles in spite of the fact that what proposed class members have received “differ materially from the product Nissan intended to sell.” Rather than acknowledge the CVT issue, Nissan has “actively concealed” that the cars were defective and not fit for their intended purpose, the case alleges.
Nissan has not recalled affected Rogue models, offered a suitable repair or replacement of defective CVTs free of charge or offered to reimburse drivers for costs they incurred to diagnose and repair the problem, the suit says. Despite being on notice of the problem, the defendants “regularly deny” the existence of the CVT defect until after a driver’s five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty powertrain coverage has expired, and have required payment to fix the problem even for vehicles still under warranty, the complaint alleges.
The Rogue is the latest Nissan model to be at the center of putative class action litigation over apparent issues with the automaker’s continuously variable transmissions. In the last four years, suits have been filed over alleged CVT issues drivers say they’ve experienced with the Nissan Versa, Altima and Sentra.
“Nissan’s CVT has been plagued with the same or similar recurrent problems (i.e., hesitation, shaking, juddering, premature failure, etc.) for over a decade,” the complaint reads.
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