American Honda Motor Co. faces a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges the automaker possessed for years “exclusive and superior knowledge” of an acceleration defect plaguing all 2016-2020 model year Acura MDX and RDX SUVs yet has concealed the potentially dangerous problem from drivers.
According to the 28-page complaint, the apparent MDX and RDX defect manifests when a vehicle does not properly accelerate in response to a driver depressing the accelerator pedal. The case claims that affected Acuras, rather than accelerate normally, can decelerate rapidly, stall and “effectively shut down without warning” before suddenly regaining power and continuing to operate “as if nothing had occurred.” The plaintiff stresses that the supposed flaw can occur at highway speeds when “reliable acceleration is required for driver and passenger safety.”
“Under normal conditions, the Class Vehicle may not respond to normal driver input,” the case out of Florida’s Southern District alleges, “leaving drivers and passengers in a vehicle traveling at unexpected speeds in scenarios that may lead to loss of control, collision, bodily harm, and potentially death.”
The suit claims that Honda became aware of the reported acceleration defect by way of investigations done by Acura dealerships and “over 50” driver complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The automaker gained further knowledge of the issue, the case goes on, through a 2019 recall that affected 2016-2018 MDX vehicles stricken with faulty fuel pumps linked to sudden engine stalling events. According to the lawsuit, this year’s recall “specifically highlights” that a restriction in vehicle acceleration poses a substantial safety risk.
The plaintiff charges that despite possessing voluminous data on the apparent acceleration defect plaguing 2016-2020 Acura MDX and RDX models, American Honda Motor Co., has neither notified drivers nor recalled all affected cars nor made any attempt to compensate proposed class members for diminution of their vehicle’s value. As the suit tells it, despite only select MDX vehicles being subject to 2019’s recall, thousands of Acura owners and lessees remain unaware of the acceleration problem described by the plaintiff.
Per the case, thousands of consumers such as the plaintiff have been misled by Acura’s advertising and marketing campaigns exemplifying the safety of the MDX and RDX.
“As a consequence, Plaintiff purchased a vehicle that at any moment can place her, her passengers, and other drivers and pedestrians [sic] lives at risk due to its unexpected deceleration,” the suit reads, adding that consumers may not have purchased their vehicles—or would have paid less for the cars—had they known of the acceleration issues.
In addition to compensation, the lawsuit looks to compel American Honda Motor Co. to notify owners and lessees of affected Acura MDX and RDX vehicles of the alleged acceleration defect and issue a recall of the cars.