A proposed class action alleges General Motors knew at least as early as 2009 that 2010-2011 model year Chevrolet Camaros were equipped with defective airbag systems.
The 69-page lawsuit says the airbag systems found in 2010-2011 Camaros, the “class vehicles,” suffer from a defect that could cause the right front passenger airbag to be off when an adult is seated in the front seat and the airbag should be on. Per the case, the airbag will not deploy in the event of an accident.
According to the lawsuit—which was transferred to Minnesota on April 14 after its initial filing in Virginia federal court on January 15, 2021—GM became aware in 2009 that the circuit in the class vehicles’ passenger presence sensor (PPS) pad was “prone to tearing,” and late in that year and/or in early 2010 issued a quality alert to the seat supplier. By that time, however, tens of thousands of “defective” PPS pads had been installed in 2010-2011 Camaro models, the complaint says. For its part, General Motors, rather than properly address the issue, did nothing, the suit claims.
“Rather than retrofit these vehicles with the redesigned PPS sensor pad, Defendant simply looked the other way,” the lawsuit alleges.
The alleged airbag defect, which can supposedly manifest under “a variety of driving conditions,” presents a significant safety hazard that renders affected Camaros “unreasonably dangerous” given the risk of passenger impact in a crash, the complaint says. The suit relays that “numerous” Camaro owners, with their vehicle’s passenger airbag on-off indicator displaying “OFF” when a passenger is seated in the car, have been forced to replace the right front passenger airbag sensor and/or other components “at considerable expense,” according to the case. As the lawsuit tells it, Chevy Camaro drivers have effectively been left by GM to fend for themselves.
“Nevertheless, Defendant has failed to notify consumers of the Airbag Defect, to offer to fix the problem, or to reimburse consumers who have incurred damages as a result of the Airbag Defect,” the suit claims.
Compounding matters, the case continues, is that the airbag defect is “not obvious to consumers,” as “it often triggers the illumination of warning lights which some consumers do not understand and/or notice.” As a result, drivers “unwittingly transport friends and loved ones in a front passenger seat, which lacks one of the most basic and important vehicle safety features: a fully operational front airbag,” the lawsuit says, noting repairs for the apparent defect can run into the “hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.”
The plaintiff, a Leesburg, Virginia resident, claims GM acknowledged the passenger-side airbag problem in a 2010 technical service bulletin sent only to dealers. According to the lawsuit, GM has “actively concealed the Airbag Defect” from buyers and lessees, who might not have paid for the vehicles, or would have paid less, had they known of the issue. Moreover, the suit says GM is obligated under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act (TREAD Act) to promptly and accurately notify all vehicle owners upon learning of a safety defect.
“Defendant violated and continues to violate the TREAD Act by failing to disclose the true nature and extent of the Airbag Defect, and by failing to offer an adequate remedy for all manifestations of the Defect,” according to the case.
The suit looks to represent consumers nationwide, other than in California, who bought or leased any 2010 through 2011 Chevrolet Camaro.
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