San Francisco, CA: Preliminary approval of a defective automotive class action settlement has been granted, potentially ending the lawsuit pending against BMW over allegations the German auto-maker concealed a defect in the transmission of its Mini Cooper cars.
US District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez, who is hearing the complaint, (Aarons v. BMW of North America LLC, Case No. 11-cv-07667, in the US District Court for the Central District of California), has requested additional information about the class size and suggested some revisions to the existing preliminary settlement. However, if approved, thousands of Mini Cooper owners could be eligible to receive as much as $9,000 for vehicle repairs.
According to attorneys representing the plaintiffs, approximately 1,200 Mini Cooper owners had to have their transmissions replaced at BMW dealerships. However, many drivers took their Mini Coopers to a third-party facility for repair, and that number is not known.
The lawsuit claims that the transmission defect, which can cause significant delays in acceleration, loss of forward propulsion and total transmission failure while driving, was concealed from Mini Cooper customers, by BMW. However, BMW, at the same time, allegedly issued bulletins to BMW dealerships acknowledging the defect. The transmission defects also included the failure of the transmission without warning. These failures and defects may have contributed to traffic accidents resulting in serious injury or death.
The plaintiffs further claim that in an effort to keep the prices of the Mini Coopers low, BMW sacrificed quality, thereby making cars of a substandard quality and putting consumers at risk.