A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed in the wake of a recall of more than 121,000 Mazda vehicles said to be equipped with defective low-pressure fuel pumps supplied by auto parts manufacturer Denso.
The 125-page lawsuit, filed pro se by a New York consumer, says the Denso fuel pump defect can cause an affected Mazda to stall, or its engine to shut down or fail to start. The issue can also prevent a driver from accelerating at a necessary pace during highway driving, and generally poses a substantial risk of injury or death to anyone driving or riding as a passenger in an affected vehicle, the suit states.
Despite being aware of the fuel pump problem “for years,” Mazda and Denso, the lawsuit alleges, failed to disclose the defect to consumers until November 12, 2021, when the automaker announced a recall of its 2018 Mazda3 sedans and hatchbacks, 2019 Mazda6 sedans, 2019 CX-3 SUVs, 2018 and 2019 MX-5 Miata coupes and convertibles, 2018 and 2019 CX-5 and CX-9 SUVs, and 2019 and 2020 Mazda2 hatchbacks.
The case charges, however, that Mazda’s “woefully inadequate” recall does not include other 2013-2020 model year vehicles that have been equipped with the same Denso low-pressure fuel pump. According to the lawsuit, Mazda has known of the fuel pump issue since at least as early as March 2019 yet did not acknowledge its existence publicly until more than two years later, and afterward failed to instruct consumers to stop driving their vehicles until they are repaired.
“Despite Mazda’s indisputable knowledge of the danger posed by defective fuel pumps in its vehicles, Mazda’s Recall is woefully inadequate because it: (1) failed to identify and include the full scope of Mazda manufactured vehicles equipped with defective fuel pumps; (2) failed to offer a timely or effective repair; (3) failed to warn consumers about the serious safety hazards posed by the Fuel Pump Defect and recommend customers stop driving their vehicles until they are repaired; and (4) failed to offer free loaner vehicles until Plaintiffs’ and Class Members’ vehicles are repaired.”
According to Mazda’s November 2021 recall report, the impeller—the rotating plastic disk that draws fuel from a gas tank and sends it up toward the pump—of some low-pressure Denso fuel pumps in its vehicles may become “deformed” under certain conditions, which could lead to fuel pump failure. The lawsuit alleges that rather than follow industry-standard procedure and replace a vehicle’s entire fuel pump, Mazda has instead directed technicians to replace only the fuel pump motor. The case says that this is an “extremely delicate and difficult” procedure that carries a high risk of damaging the entire fuel pump module, which can cause gas to leak out of a fuel tank. This can create a hazardous situation and exacerbate the fuel pump issue rather than correct it, the suit states.
In April 2020, Denso issued a general recall of its fuel pumps manufactured between September 1, 2017 and October 6, 2018, affecting more than two million vehicles, the suit states. In June of that year, Denso expanded its recall, adding more than 100,000 vehicles, before doing so again in November 2020, adding more than 1.5 million more fuel pumps to the list of those considered to be defective, per the case.
The complaint claims that although Denso has admitted responsibility for the pervasive fuel pump defect, the manufacturer has nevertheless failed to take any corrective action itself, leaving such up to automakers and drivers.
The lawsuit alleges that in light of the recall, Mazda’s marketing of its vehicles as safe and dependable is false and “materially misleading” to consumers.
The lawsuit looks to cover all current and former owners and lessees of a Mazda vehicle equipped with a Denso-made low-pressure fuel pump bearing part number suffix 13350.
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