A class action alleges FCA US has failed to disclose that the Jatco JF011E continuously variable transmission in certain model year Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass, Dodge Caliber and other vehicles is defective.
A proposed class action alleges FCA US LLC has failed to disclose that the Jatco JF011E continuously variable transmission (CVT) in certain model year Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass, Dodge Caliber and other vehicles is prone to unexpectedly shudder, lag and/or overheat, even at highway speeds.
The 61-page complaint alleges automaker FCA US “undertook affirmative measures” to hide the purportedly inherent problems with the transmission, which comes standard on the 2010-2013 Jeep Patriot, 2010-2013 Jeep Compass and 2010-2012 Dodge Caliber. The case stresses that the apparent defects plaguing the CVT in the aforementioned vehicles pose a serious safety concern in that they can impair a driver’s ability to control their vehicle, and greatly increase the risk of collision.
Per the lawsuit, drivers who have experienced the CVT issues in the Jeep Patriot, Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber have incurred significant and unexpected repair costs, and may have reconsidered buying or leasing the vehicles had FCA US disclosed the apparent defect.
“FCA US’s omission at the time of purchase of the CVT’s marked tendency to fail is material because no reasonable consumer expects to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to repair or replace essential transmission components,” the complaint asserts.
According to the lawsuit, the continuously variable transmission in the affected FCA-made vehicle models is defective in that it can cause sudden, unexpected shaking and violent jerking when a driver attempts to accelerate. When the gas pedal is pressed, the transmission will moreover cause the vehicle to lag and not accelerate as intended, the suit says. Further, the CVT at issue is “inordinately prone to overheating,” the case claims, and could possibly cause a vehicle to decelerate abruptly and lose power at highway speeds.
Ultimately, the JF011E transmission can fail and require replacement at significant cost to the driver, the lawsuit relays, claiming FCA has known of the alleged CVT defect since at least 2007, prior to its reorganization into Chrysler Group LLC following bankruptcy proceedings.
According to the suit, a CVT is a type of automatic transmission that uses two variable-diameter pulleys with a steel belt running between them, rather than a gearbox and clutch system, to change speed. Per the case, rather than rely on the fixed gear ratios of a traditional automatic transmission, a CVT’s pulleys can adjust their width to make the belt turn faster or slower depending on the speed of a vehicle and the torque needed. Thus, the CVT simultaneously adjusts the diameter of the drive pulley that transmits torque from the engine and the driven pulley that transfers torque to the wheels, allowing for an infinite number of gear ratios, the lawsuit relays.
Drivers of vehicles with CVTs, however, have complained that their cars fail to accelerate when the gas pedal is depressed, the case goes on. Instead, the vehicle lags before then surging forward unpredictably, according to the suit. Others have complained about vehicle jerking and/or the illumination of their transmission light while driving before the car abruptly loses power, the complaint says.
Per the lawsuit, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began receiving the first of what was to become a large number of complaints, including those made to dealerships and online, about the foregoing issues as far back as December 2006.
The lawsuit looks to represent all individuals in the United States who purchased or leased any FCA US vehicle equipped with a Jatco JF011E continuously variable transmission.
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