Vehicle emission woes are at the center of yet another proposed class action. A lawsuit filed in Michigan federal court looks to represent consumers who bought or leased certain Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep models equipped with defective catalytic converters and powertrain control modules and must now wait to obtain repairs due to a supply shortage-related quarterly repair schedule set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The repair delay has allegedly sparked a host of issues and threatens vehicle registration in states that test for emissions.
The 58-page lawsuit, filed on the heels of a more than800,000-vehicle recallannounced March 13, says a supply shortage, particularly for the precious metal palladium found in catalytic converters, has led defendants Fiat Chrysler and FCA US to place affected vehicle models on a quarterly repair schedule, with older cars first up for repairs. This, according to the complaint, has kicked off a cascade of concerns from consumers whose vehicles have supposedly become “an idled resource, parked in driveways without the necessary registrations to be driven, sold, or otherwise utilized.”
Worst of all, the lawsuit says, many consumers may not be able to renew their vehicles’ registrations if they live in a state, such as California, that requires emissions testing.
The complaint identifies the following vehicle models—the “class vehicles”—as subject to Fiat Chrysler’s recall:
Echoing many auto defect class actions, the case chides Fiat Chrysler for its alleged failure to say anything to consumers despite apparently accounting for the recall in last year’s financial documents. Instead of disclosing the reported emissions issues to customers, the suit says, FCA has chosen its bottom line as its first priority.
“Needless to say,” the lawsuit reads, “as of March 13, 2019, FCA consumersonce againfind themselves in an emissions bind, and once again, this conundrum is of FCA’s making.”
The lawsuit asks the court to certify a nationwide class, as well as Michigan- and New Jersey-only subclasses, of consumers who bought or leased any of the class vehicles.