A proposed class action alleges automaker FCA US released the Jeep Wrangler 4xe in 2021 while failing to disclose that the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles were equipped with faulty electronic and/or computer systems that could cause sudden shutdowns.
The 10-page complaint, brought in Forsythe County Superior Court on August 19, claims FCA US, for its part, has known of the apparent electronic system defect plaguing the Jeep Wrangler 4xe yet “stubbornly” refused to disclose its existence to consumers, notify current owners and lessees, recall the vehicles and take all necessary steps to protect drivers from the danger posed by the problem.
“It should go without saying that a vehicle while using the roads and highways suddenly, and without warning, shutting down is incredibly dangerous to drivers, passengers, and other vehicles in the roadway,” the complaint stresses. “Yet, that is exactly what happens with the Class Vehicles.”
According to the plaintiff, the electronic display of his new 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe “suddenly displayed an error screen” while he was driving on the highway in July with his wife and two minor children in the vehicle. The case states the error screen displayed a reference to the vehicle’s electric hybrid system, and warned the plaintiff to immediately pull over and put the car in park.
Per the suit, “[t]he Jeep’s entire system shut down, including its engine, air conditioning system, navigation screen, and all other systems.” The plaintiff was able to successfully pull over and stop on the shoulder of the highway, the complaint relays.
A few moments later, the lawsuit says, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe’s screens restarted and indicated the vehicle could be turned back on, after which the Jeep appeared to be functioning normally.
The plaintiff claims that upon calling a licensed Jeep dealership for a service appointment, “no person at the dealership warned [the plaintiff] to cease driving the Jeep,” and no bulletins, service announcements, warnings or other information indicating the vehicle was dangerous existed. Thereafter, the plaintiff resumed driving his Jeep until the issue manifested again, while the plaintiff and his family were driving in the left lane of the interstate highway in Atlanta two days before the car’s scheduled service appointment, the suit says.
“The electronic display in the Jeep again suddenly flashed an electrical system error and instructed [the plaintiff] to immediately pull the Jeep over,” the case says, stating that all systems in the vehicle ceased functioning as they did during the prior shutdown incident.
The plaintiff thereafter incurred expenses to tow his Jeep Wrangler 4xe to a dealership, and the vehicle has been “out of service” since July 31, according to the complaint. For its part, FCA US “has not provided any material update or information concerning the condition of the Jeep and has not provided a loaner or temporary vehicle,” the case alleges.
Per the filing, the plaintiff’s situation is “not unique” as reports of similar incidents have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and directly with FCA since the vehicle’s release. Despite numerous customer complaints, FCA has “failed and refused to notify the public” of the risks associated with using the car and issue any bulletins, warnings or other notices to owners and lessees of the vehicles, the lawsuit alleges, claiming the automaker’s apparent refusal to acknowledge the defect is “intentional.”
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