A putative class action was filed in an Oklahoma federal court last month against Suzuki Motor of America Inc. It was alleged that the automaker concealed from consumers a defect in certain General Motors LLC-manufactured Forenza and Reno compact cars that can cause the running lights to overheat and cause a fire. The Korean automaker was said to have known about the electric lighting defect as early as April 2007. However, it didn’t issue a recall for the 184,244 affected model year 2008 to 2008 Forenza and 2005 to 2008 Reno vehicles until this past July. Instead, the automaker opted to continue to sell the defective cars, to the detriment of consumers, and still has not informed car owners when the repairs will be made available. The complaint said:
Plaintiff contends that said delay was deliberate and calculated for the purpose of depriving consumers of knowledge of a dangerous defect and the lack of a solution for it.
The automaker notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the recall in May, saying that heat may be generated in the headlamp switch or daytime running light module, which could melt the switch or module. The Forenza and Reno vehicles included in the recall were manufactured by General Motors Co. in South Korea. Suzuki didn’t inform the car owners of the recall until July, even though it allegedly knew about the defect as early as 2007. That was when consumers began filing complaints with NHTSA over the issue.
The court is being asked to certify a class in the case of all individuals in the U.S. who purchased or leased one of the affected Forenza or Reno vehicles. The complaint alleges generally that “Plaintiff and class members have suffered an ascertainable loss of money, property and/or value of their vehicles subject to the recall notice, including diminution of value to such vehicles.” The suit is in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
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