Articles Posted in Vehicles

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Volkswagen has recently come under serious fire for allegedly fraudulently concealing the true emissions of pollutants in certain of its Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi diesel vehicles.  An announcement by Volkswagen this week is even more troubling for the company and also for those who own Volkswagen and Audi vehicles.  On Tuesday, Volkswagen announced that an internal investigation revealed what it titled “inconsistencies” in both carbon dioxide emissions and fuel economy of an additional 800,000 vehicles, most of which were sold in North America.  The Volkswagen internal investigation indicated the “inconsistencies” may lower fuel economy of certain vehicles up to 15 percent.

Details have yet to be revealed to the Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates emissions standards and sets the requirements for fuel economy measurements.  Consumers, too, are left in the dark while Volkswagen continues to not fully disclose this important information.

What Do We know and Which Vehicles Are Affected?  Continue reading

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UPDATE

On July 15, 2016, the Firm filed an amended class action complaint concerning the alleged defect in 2010-15 Mazda 3 clutch assemblies.  The case currently is proceeding in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division.  We will update this blog post as the case proceeds.

Zoom-Zoom. If you’re a Mazda owner, you’ve probably seen the commercials. They’re everywhere. They’re filled with lively music and images of drivers coasting along highways in their sporty, fun and fast Mazda cars. Chances are they were on your mind when you purchased your Mazda3. And they definitely were when you guided the vehicle onto the road for your first joy ride.

Then your Mazda3’s clutch starts to experience problems like slipping, requiring a little more effort every time you shifted gears. Finally, your Mazda3’s clutch stops working all together. You head in to the nearest dealership, warranty in hand because your Mazda3 is covered by a three-year/36,000 mile warranty, and confident that your Mazda dealer will replace the clutch. After all – your warranty is still in effect. Then reality sets in. Mazda will not cover clutch replacement. The Mazda dealer tells you that your clutch failed and needs to be replaced BECAUSE OF YOU. You “Zoomed-Zoomed” too much, driver error. “But wait,” you say, “I know how to drive a manual car and have never had problems with any other clutch.” Sorry, you’re told, it’s wear and tear, and it’ll be $1200 to replace the clutch so you can get back to zoom-zooming. The bad news? You probably had to pay it. The good news? You’re not alone.

Second generation (2009-2013) Mazda3 owners need to know that premature clutch failure is a common problem well-known to Mazda, and Mazda should be forced to honor its warranty and replace the clutch at no cost to you. Ever since the second generation Mazda3 debuted during the 2009 model year, owners have complained of premature clutch failure, in some cases in as few as 12,000 miles. And the problem only worsened after the release of the 2010 Mazda3. Continue reading

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In the two months since Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP filed a class action on behalf of consumers who own or lease vehicles with the defective and dangerous exploding Takata airbags, several new and troubling developments have emerged.

The Takata Cover-Up

In early November 2014, two former employees of Takata Corp. subsidiary TK Holdings, Inc. publicly announced in a New York Times exposé that TK Holdings, Inc. tested the defective airbags in 2004 after a Takata airbag exploded and shot shrapnel at a driver in Alabama.  According to those former employees, out of concern that the airbags may be defective, Takata, through subsidiary TK Holdings Inc., (collectively, “Takata”) tested 50 airbags over a period of three months at its Auburn Hills, Michigan facility.  During those tests, conducted on airbags retrieved from junk yards, the airbags’ steel inflater canisters cracked in two of the airbags.  According to the employees, one of whom was a senior lab technician at TK Holdings, Inc. at the time, this cracking could lead to rupture.

Per the statements of the former employees, lab technicians conducting the tests were troubled by the results and immediately began investigating a fix in anticipation of a recall of vehicles containing the defective airbags, and presumably, for airbags manufactured in the future.  However, when the testing results were reported to the decision-makers at the Takata subsidiary, the executives discounted the testing results, ordered the testing laboratory employees to delete all results of the testing from their computers and other files, and instructed them to throw away all of the tested airbags in the trash.  Takata, nor its subsidiaries, took any further action at that time.  The former employees tied this investigation and reported defect to the current recall. Continue reading

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Less than 10 years ago, the subprime mortgage lending crisis sent the economy into a tailspin.  Now, a new predatory lending practice has come to the forefront of financial and consumer concerns and has many of the same issues and risks as the mortgage crisis—used car loans at exorbitant rates to consumers with credit scores of 640 or below, also known as subprime auto loans.

There is a proliferation of used automobile dealerships advertising “No credit? Bad credit? No problem!” in an attempt to entice consumers who may not otherwise qualify for, and may not be able to afford, a used car loan.  These dealerships target potential purchasers with credit scores of 640 and below.  In exchange for offering credit to higher risk consumers, the banks financing these loans charge very high interest rates in comparison to those offered to potential purchasers with more favorable credit scores.  Occasionally, dealerships fabricate work history or income to ensure that a consumer qualifies for a loan.  In other circumstances, the dealerships and banks offer loans to consumers they should know do not have the ability to pay back.  In many cases, providing these high interest loans simply sets up car purchasers for failure with monthly payments they are realistically unable to afford.

Owners of vehicles financed through subprime auto loans do their best to make their payments, but often, unfortunately, the high interest rate combined with the large monthly payments lead to an inability to pay.  In some cases, after missed payments, the bank repossesses the vehicles. In other cases, even if the payment is a mere few days late, the bank utilizes remote starter interrupters that render the vehicles unable to start until the balance owed is paid.  This leaves consumers with no way to transport themselves and their families, even in the event of an emergency, or to travel to and from work.  Unfortunately, this often leads to even greater financial woes.

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