2019 GMC Sierra owners should keep tabs on a class action lawsuit working its way through the court system.
The lawsuit, Duffy v. General Motors, Inc., concerns transmissions used in several General Motors (GM) vehicles built between 2015 and 2018, including the 2019 GMC Sierra. The transmissions involved are the GM 8L90 and GM 8L45, both manufacturered by GM.
The transmissions, according to the Duffy plaintiffs, allegedly hesitate, shake, shudder, jerk, clunk or “hard shift” when drivers attempts acceleration or deceleration. They say this makes the vehicle uncomfortable to drive, and in some cases can be violent enough to make drivers lose vehicle control or make them think they’ve been hit. The plaintiffs are seeking six statewide classes for purchasers and lessees of the affected vehicles from Florida, California, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
Other affected vehicles include the 2015-2019 Chevrolet Silverado, 2017-2019 Chevrolet Colorado, 2016-2019 Chevrolet Camaro, 2015-2019 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV, 2016-2019 Cadillac ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CT6 and CTS-V, 2015-2019 GMC Yukon, Yukon XL and Yukon Denali XL, and 2017-2019 GMC Canyon.
This alleged defect, the plaintiffs say, causes more problems than uncomfortable driving. Internal issues inside the transmission make metal surfaces within them rub together and circulate metal shavings throughout the system, causing more damage over time. Owners then must remove the shaving by flushing the transmission fluid, and possibly replace the torque converter, valve body, or even the entire transmission.
Plaintiffs allege these defects not only endanger drivers and passengers but reduce the vehicle’s value, and that by deliberately not disclosing these defects GM artificially inflated the vehicles’ purchase and lease prices.
The plaintiffs state in their complaint GM knew about the defective transmissions “for years” since after the company first installed them into vehicles. GM issued thirteen “technical service bulletins” related to the transmissions, instructing dealerships on how they should respond to customer complaints about the problem. Those instructions included completing the “clutch drive learn procedure,” replacing the valve body, flushing the cooler and cooler lines, removing debris from and cleaning the transmission pan, replacing the transmission filter, flushing and replacing the transmission fluid, and replacing the entire transmission.
None of these procedures, the complaint says, fix the defect at the heart of the problem. The plaintiffs allege GM is “merely biding time until its warranty expires” and isn’t disclosing the problem to potential customers. The plaintiffs allege this defect makes the affected vehicles unfit for their ordinary use and breaches the implied warranty of merchantability, and calls GM’s failure to notify customers of the problem “unconscionable.”
GM touted the new 8L90 and 8L45 eight speed-transmissions as improvements over previous six-speed versions, calling them a “win-win-win” for consumers.
“It offers greater performance and efficiency, while weighing less than the transmission it replaces,” said Kavoos Kaveh, global chief engineer for GM. “That’s a rare accomplishment in the industry today – and one for which GM has been awarded more than two dozen patents.”
Another press release GM issued on March 9, 2015 stated “the new-generation transmission delivers an optimal blend of efficiency, power, performance, durability and NVH suppression that’s never been offered, one uniquely suited to the engines and vehicles with which it will be pairs and the demands of 21st century drivers and advanced automotive engineering.”
Several consumers reported problems to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) including shifts so hard it feels like a rear-end collision, unexpected acceleration, transmission shuddering, engine hesitation, rough idling and loud clunking sounds.
Class-action lawsuits are a vital component of the American legal system, but they frequently net relatively small settlements for clients. Individual claims almost always result in more lucrative settlements, often with less extensive documentation required from clients.
If you purchased a 2019 GMC Sierra, you aren’t out of luck. State lemon laws and the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act protect consumers who inadvertently purchase defective vehicles. The lemon law attorneys of Allen Stewart P.C. will examine the details of your claim and stand up for you. Our lemon law lawyers have combined decades of experience taking on automotive manufacturers on behalf of everyday consumers and winning. However, statutes of limitations mean the longer you wait to file a claim, the harder it can be to get the compensation you deserve.