A class action alleges airbag inflators made by Joyson Safety Systems, the successor to Takata, were contaminated by moisture during the manufacturing process yet nevertheless equipped in certain GMC, Chevy and Dodge trucks.
A proposed class action alleges airbag inflators made by Joyson Safety Systems, the successor-in-interest to Takata Corporation, were contaminated by moisture during the manufacturing process yet nevertheless equipped in certain GMC, Chevy and Dodge trucks.
According to the 88-page lawsuit, defendants General Motors and FCA US knew the airbag inflators posed a critical safety risk in that they were prone to explode spontaneously, even without airbag deployment, yet misrepresented the following vehicle models as safe:
2015-2016 GMC Sierra 1500;
2015 GMC Sierra 2500/3500;
2015-2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500;
2015-2016 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500;
2015-2019 Dodge Ram 1500;
2015-2020 Dodge Ram 2500;
2015-2020 Dodge Ram 3500; and
2019-2020 Dodge Ram Classic.
Each Joyson airbag at issue comes with an inflator vessel whose interior suffers from corrosion caused by moisture introduced during the manufacturing process, the suit says. According to the complaint, affected airbags are located in the roof-rails of certain trucks made by General Motors and the side-curtains of those made by FCA, although the defect may also be present in other airbags made and distributed by Joyson, the case says.
As a result of the interior corrosion plaguing the products’ inflator vessels, Joyson airbags fail to perform as they should and could possibly explode spontaneously and spray metal shrapnel into a vehicle’s driver and passenger compartments, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit contends General Motors, FCA US and Joyson either knew or should have known of the airbag inflator problem in light of their “respective histories” with Takata, the Japanese auto parts company whose airbag inflators have become synonymous with a series of deaths and injuries in 2013. In June 2017, Takata filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States and for bankruptcy protection in Japan as the company owed amounts in compensation that were too great for it to survive.
In April 2018, the bankrupt assets of Takata were acquired by Key Safety Systems, who then renamed itself Joyson Safety Systems and now owns Takata’s supplier factories, the case says. Per the complaint, General Motors and FCA had more than enough information at their disposal to know that Joyson’s airbag inflators, reportedly made in the same facility in Mexico as earlier Takata airbags, might suffer from similar problems as those made by the company’s predecessor:
“The Truck Manufacturers are aware of the Takata Recalls and are still facing ongoing litigation for, among other things, concealment and suppression of facts related to the Takata Recalls. The Truck Manufacturers are also aware that Joyson is Takata’s successor-in-interest. The Truck Manufacturers therefore knew or should have known that airbags manufactured by Joyson contain similar defects in design or manufacturing to those triggering the Takata Recalls.”
The lawsuit alleges the automakers “are putting profits ahead of safety” by continuing to equip certain trucks with Joyson airbags even though “they knew or should have known those airbags were defective.” The case says that only recently, on the heels of a second GM recall of 400,000 pickup trucks in the U.S., has the defective nature of the Joyson airbags come to light.
The complaint argues that as a result of GM, FCA and Joyson’s alleged conduct, drivers have bought or leased vehicles that are of a lesser standard, grade and quality than represented and fail to meet ordinary and reasonable consumer safety and reliability expectations. For their part, the defendants have seemingly avoided losing money by declining to initiate a mass recall of affected trucks, the suit alleges.
“Plaintiffs and the Classes were deprived of having a safe, defect-free airbag installed in their vehicles, and Defendant unjustly benefited from their unconscionable delay in recalling their defective products, as it avoids incurring the costs associated with recalls and installing replacement parts,” the complaint reads.
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