A proposed class action lawsuit alleges Subaru and Toyota’s repair work on roughly 165,000 vehicles sold with an undisclosed engine defect is effectively worsening the issue and is to blame for “widespread and catastrophic engine failures.”
Filed in New Jersey district court, the lawsuit against Subaru of America; Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.; and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America is centered on supposedly defective valve springs located inside of affected engines. A key engine component, valve springs, the case says, may produce an abnormal noise if they malfunction or, at worst, could cause engine stalling while a vehicle is in operation, no matter the speed.
With regard to the connection between Subaru and Toyota, the lawsuit explains that the latter “owns a significant share” of the former, and that the companies jointly developed the Subaru BRZ and Toyota Scion FR-S. Upon information and belief, the complaint says, Subaru was behind the development of the engine that’s proven to be problematic in affected vehicle models. Upward of 165,000 vehicles—namely 2013 Subaru BRZ, 2012-2014 Subaru Impreza, 2012-2013 Subaru Impreza Wagon, 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek and 2013 Toyota Scion FR-S models—were recalled in November 2018 due to voluminous consumer complaints concerning broken engine valve springs, the case states.
The lawsuit charges that the defendants’ recall-related valve spring replacements, which the automakers in December 2018 instructed consumers to have done by authorized dealers, have actually increased the risk of engine malfunction, and thereby upped the risk of sudden stalls, catastrophic engine damage, crashes, and even engine fires. The plaintiff argues that Subaru and Toyota, rather than acknowledge that their recall repairs have been ineffective, are instead “trying to force consumers to bear the costs and expenses” associated with engine stalls and failures stemming from the work. In addition to costing proposed class members significant money, the case says, the defendants’ apparent failure to remedy the valve spring problem via recall repairs has put the safety of the public and drivers at risk.
Of the plaintiff’s situation, the lawsuit claims the Texas man in August 2019 received a safety recall notice pertaining to his 2013 Toyota Scion FR-S supposedly equipped with defective valve springs. Roughly a week after the plaintiff took his car to an authorized Toyota dealer for recall repairs, the man was driving on the highway when he heard “a loud knocking sound coming from the engine,” the case says. The engine then immediately shut down, stranding the plaintiff on the side of the highway, according to the complaint.
Upon bringing his Scion back to the dealership, the plaintiff says Toyota technicians informed him that they found inside the engine metal shavings believed to have caused a bearing failure. The plaintiff alleges that despite never having performed any of his own work on the vehicle, “various service department employees” claimed that he “must have caused these issues when performing prior engine work himself.” The man says in the complaint that he was then informed his vehicle was in need of a new engine at a cost of more than $6,000. After a brief lull, the lawsuit claims, the plaintiff received more bad news.
“After a considerable period of time had lapsed without any response from Toyota and/or the dealership, on or about September 11, 2019, Plaintiff was contacted by the dealership and informed that Toyota had refused to cover any of the cost of the repairs to Plaintiff’s vehicle,” the suit reads.
The plaintiff claims he and proposed class members have suffered "ascertainable losses" as a result of the defendants’ conduct.