Has your 2017-2023 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid (or the “Class Vehicles”) experienced sudden shutdown issues because of problems with the internal transmission wiring connectors that could short-circuit and cause the minivan engine to shut down and lose power.
The manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Audi (or “FCA”) has issued a recall and admitted that “[a]n unexpected engine shutdown resulting in a loss of motive power can cause a vehicle to crash without prior warning.”
Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid vehicle owners with this significant problem may have a lemon, need to pay close attention to their rights, and may want to call a lemon law lawyer for advice.
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Class Action over Recall
According to a recent class action lawsuit filed in the Eastern District of Michigan, the affected vehicles include model years 2017-2023 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid Minivans that were recently subject to a recall.
FCA said the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid recall was necessary because of problems with these vehicles’ internal transmission wiring connectors.
FCA said dealers would update the power inverter module and instrument panel cluster software on 2017-2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids, and model year 2019-2023 minivans would receive power inverter module software updates. However, the software updates would not fix the problem but only allegedly provide “messaging to the customer and sufficient drive time to exit traffic.”
The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit allege that FCA concealed the Sudden Shutdown Defect before and after the Pacifica Hybrid minivans were sold.
According to the lawsuit, FCA also allegedly concealed the “consequences, including the serious safety hazards and monetary harm caused by the Spontaneous Shutdown Risk – e.g., accidents and injury or death to persons in and around the Shutdown Risk Vehicle should it lose all motive power while the vehicle is traveling on a public street or highway.”
The recently filed class action lawsuit claims FCA has not offered customers any real remedy for the Sudden Shutdown Defect because the transmission wire harnesses would not be repaired or replaced.
The class action complaint further states that Chrysler should offer every customer a buyback of their minivan at the Blue Book value on the day before the recall was announced and that FCA should at least “offer to provide a comparable loaner or rental minivan while safely storing the dangerous Shutdown Risk Vehicles until it can genuinely repair them….”
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Problems Basis for Lemon Law Buyback?
Owners or lessees of these vehicles who live in California should know that California lemon law and federal law may force Defendants to either “buy the vehicle back” or provide substantial compensation for those experiencing these defects.
Under California’s lemon law, qualifying “lemons” must be repurchased or payments refunded.
Depending on the situation, this refund could be as much as everything you paid for the vehicle and everything you owe: monthly payments, down payments, tax, finance charges, license, registration, etc. You could even qualify for two times your money back.
A formula in the law starts with you getting all your money back and then taking certain deductions and exclusions. Those exclusions are challenging to understand and can be fought against by knowledgeable consumer attorneys.
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Recall and Lawsuit FAQ
What is the class action lawsuit name and case number?
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid class action lawsuit was filed on February 1, 2023, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Southern Division): Kappes et al., v. FCA US, LLC, Case No. 23-cv-10259.
What is the Status of the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid Class Action?
On May 1, 2023, FCA filed motions to dismiss and compel arbitration, which motions have been briefed and are pending.
The court has yet to rule on those motions and certify the case to move forward as a class action.
What are the affected vehicle models identified in the recall and class action lawsuit?
The affected vehicle models are 2017-2023 Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid Minivans.
How many Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid minivans are affected by these alleged defects?
According to the class action lawsuit complaint, “Plaintiffs allege that there are estimated to be 67,118 or more Shutdown Risk Vehicles in the Nationwide Shutdown Risk Class.”
What does the class action lawsuit allege are the defects in the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid minivans?
The class action lawsuit alleges that “[t]he Spontaneous Shutdown Risk caused by the faulty wiring harness in the ‘transmission’ causes the entire ‘transmission’ to fail, which with this design causes the loss of both gasoline and battery motive power.”
The class action further alleges that “FCA now admits in a January 17, 2023, Safety Recall Report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (or “NHTSA”), a defect in the internal transmission wiring ‘could result in an unexpected engine shutdown under certain conditions.’ FCA further admits that ‘[a]n unexpected engine shutdown resulting in a loss of motive power can cause a vehicle to crash without prior warning.’”
Have owners been offered a buyback or compensation?
FCA has announced a recall of more than 67,000 minivans following reports of engines prone to this defect.
FCA said the Pacifica Hybrid recall was necessary because of problems with the internal transmission wiring connectors that could short-circuit and cause the minivan engines to shut down and lose motive power.
Further, FCA said dealers would update the power inverter module and instrument panel cluster software on the 2017-2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids.
The model year 2019-2023 minivans would receive power inverter module software updates. The software updates allegedly provide “messaging to the customer and sufficient drive time to exit traffic.”
According to the class action, FCA did not offer minivan customers any real remedy for the vehicle shutdown risk because the transmission wire harnesses would not be repaired or replaced.
Is there anything I need to do right now?
As a class action settlement has not been reached nor class notice mailed out, there is nothing you need to do now. To bring your own claim, you can do so now and opt out when you receive notice.
Should I Opt Out of a Class Action Lawsuit?
For many people, a class action settlement may provide significant benefits. If the class is certified, you will receive notice that the court approves the case to move forward as a class action and of your right to opt out of the class by a specific deadline.
If the class action plaintiffs prevail at trial, you will receive whatever relief the judge or jury awards. But if they lose, you may not litigate claims over the issues raised in the case.
For others, particularly where they may have had significant damages, pursuing individual claims may allow them to receive a better recovery in a shorter period, but with no guarantee that they will get anything in a settlement.
What to do can be a complicated decision, as it can depend on many factors, such as:
- How old is your car?
- Have defects occurred in your car?
- Have you taken it in for repairs on more than one occasion?
- Do you still own the car?
- Is the vehicle still under warranty?
- Where do you live?
Depending on the answers to those questions, while there is no guarantee you will receive any recovery, you may have the opportunity to receive significant relief, including a vehicle repurchase and additional damages.
We can help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision.
Do All Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid’s Experience the Sudden Shutdown Defect?
According to the class action complaint, all model year 2017-2023 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans contain a defect in the propulsion system that can cause the vehicles to experience an immediate shutdown of motive power while the cars are being driven.
What is the Song-Beverly Warranty Act?
The Song-Beverly Warranty Act, California Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), is a California state law requiring manufacturers to repair defects after reasonable repair attempts. What is “reasonable” is unclear – safety defects should be fixed immediately, for example. The defects must be important and must “substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, OR safety.” Civil Code §1793.22(e)(2).
Under Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), manufacturers must promptly offer repurchase or replacement of the Class Vehicle they cannot fix in a reasonable time frame.
Finally, under Civil Code §1794(d), manufacturers must pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs as part of the settlement, as the Song-Beverly Act is a pro-consumer fee-shifting statute.
Have a lemon? Get a free consultation.
There are a lot of factors to consider in deciding whether to opt out of a class action and pursue individual claims. We can help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision about your options.