Jeep Wrangler owners bring lawsuit against FCA in US

Jun 16, 2019   OEM

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the parent company of Jeep, has been served with a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of being dishonest about the risks of a potentially-dangerous steering issue in 2015-2018 Jeep Wranglers commonly known as the “death wobble.”

The class-action lawsuit, whose Wednesday filing was reported by The Detroit News, claims that FCA doesn’t acknowledge the risk posed by “death wobble,” doesn’t educate its customers on the phenomenon before selling them a Wrangler, and has no plans to tackle its root cause, using “band-aid” fixes to assuage customer concerns. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that “Rather than address it – or disclose its possibility and/or warn drivers at the point of sale – FCA simply claims in a news article that the ‘Death Wobble’ is not a ‘safety issue’ and that it ‘can happen with any vehicle that has a solid front axle (rather than an independent front suspension), such as the Wrangler.”

The lawsuit filed Wednesday on behalf of Clair Reynolds, a New Jersey resident, alleges a “defectively designed and/or manufactured front axle and damping system” causes the steering wheel to shake violently at highway speeds or when “encountering road variations.” It called the phenomenon a “death wobble.”

The suit filed in US District Court in Detroit and involving 2015-2018 Wranglers is seeking class-action status. It does not mention any fatalities or injuries to the plaintiff or other Jeep Wrangler owners but claims FCA knew about the issue and did not warn prospective owners.

“FCA US has not been served with this lawsuit and cannot comment on its allegations at this time,” FCA said in a statement. “However, we note that any manufacturer vehicle equipped with a solid axle can experience steering system vibration and, if experienced, it is routinely corrected. Steering, braking and throttle function remain.”

A spokesman for FCA said: “there are no known fatalities or injuries associated with this phenomenon.”

FCA said reports of steering system vibration have been linked to poorly installed or maintained aftermarket equipment, damaged or worn steering components and incorrect tire pressure.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks damages for owners, including FCA buying back the affected vehicles, and calls for the company to issue a recall.

(picture courtesy Bull-Doser)

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