A proposed class action lawsuit filed in New York details one consumer’s allegations that the nine-speed automatic transmissions in defendant FCA US LLC’s 2016 Jeep Cherokees are dangerous and defectively designed. The transmissions, which the suit says are manufactured by non-party ZF Friedrichshafen AG, allegedly fail to consistently shift into the gear desired by the driver, and can exhibit “rough, delayed, or sudden shifting”—or fail to shift at all. According to the lawsuit, the reported defect in the transmissions can cause sudden accelerations or decelerations, as well as sudden losses of power, premature wear and tear, and, ultimately, total transmission failure.
For its part, FCA has allegedly misled consumers about the safety and overall performance of the transmissions in its 2016 Jeep vehicles. The defendant’s touts with regard to fuel efficiency and power of the class vehicles are fraudulent, the lawsuit claims, given that the nine-speed transmissions “presen[t] a significant risk of accident.” The case further alleges FCA knew as far back as early 2013 that the nine-speed transmission was defective and posed a safety risk, yet installed the problematic component in class vehicles anyway.
“FCA has made repeated efforts to conceal the defects in the [nine]-speed transmission,” the case claims.
The lawsuit describes one alleged experience during which the plaintiff’s vehicle “suddenly and quickly decelerated” at around 70 miles per hour while she was driving on the freeway with her grandchildren in tow. A semi-truck almost his the plaintiff’s vehicle, the complaint says, and the plaintiff now reportedly “avoids driving the Class Vehicle on the freeway because it is too dangerous.”
After the incident, the suit says, the plaintiff visited an authorized FCA dealership to see if the alleged defect could be fixed. After service technicians “flashed” the plaintiff’s vehicle, they reportedly informed the woman that there would be no further problems with the transmission. On numerous occasions thereafter, however, the plaintiff has allegedly continued to experience the same acceleration and deceleration problems over which she brought her Jeep in for service in the first place. According to the suit, at least eight trips to a dealership have been unsuccessful in addressing the alleged defect, with FCA’s dealers supposedly denying that any problem exists at all.