A putative class action was filed last month against Hyundai Motor Co. The automaker was accused of concealing an engine defect in certain Sonata models that could cause “catastrophic engine failure” over time, posing a risk to owners and their passengers. It was alleged in the suit that the automaker has known for years that its 2011-2012 Sonata vehicles with a Theta II engine contain defective connecting rod bearings that shed metal debris, which contaminates the engine oil and spreads to other parts of the engine, ultimately leading to engine failure. The complaint alleges:
The failure of the connecting rod bearings can cause complete and catastrophic engine failure while the class vehicles are in operation at any time and under any driving conditions or speeds, and the insufficient lubrication channels accelerates the time it takes the class vehicles to experience catastrophic engine failure.
The putative class claimed Hyundai intentionally concealed information about the defect from consumers and that the company didn’t tell customers the defect would hurt the cars’ resale value. It’s alleged in her complaint:
Notwithstanding its longstanding knowledge of this design defect, Hyundai has routinely refused to repair the class vehicles without charge when the defect manifests. Indeed, in many cases Hyundai even has refused to disclose the existence of the defect when class vehicles displaying symptoms consistent with the defect are brought in for service, instead choosing to ignore the defect until they have caused significant mechanical problems necessitating costly repairs.
Lead Plaintiff Elizabeth Mendoza filed the suit on behalf of herself and other purchasers or lessors of 2011-2012 Sonata vehicles. A used 2011 Sonata was purchased according to the complaint. It was alleged that she drove it for about 50,000 miles before blowing a piston in her engine. The dealership demanded $4,500 for repairs, which Mendoza refused to pay, and she later had it fixed by a local mechanic for $3,000. Ms. Mendoza alleged violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Act and breach of express warranty and common law fraud, among other claims. The suit seeks to establish both a nationwide and state class of potentially hundreds of thousands of class members.
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