Class Action Lawsuit Over 2019 Volkswagen Jetta and 2018-2020 VW Tiguan Cars With Transmissions Problems
The deadline to opt out of this class action settlement and pursue your own individual lemon law claim if you decide to do so is December 29, 2022.
Current or former owners or lessees of any model year 2019 Volkswagen Jetta or 2018-2020 Volkswagen Tiguan vehicles equipped with an Aisin AWF8F35 8-speed automatic transmission need to pay attention to their rights.
A class action lawsuit involving these vehicles was settled in January 2022 that alleges, due to defects in the torque converter, the transmission in these vehicles grates, scuffs, scrapes, grinds, and suffers hard and sudden shifts, all of which results in delayed acceleration, hesitation, banging into gear, and broken seals and oil leaks, which can ultimately result in transmission failure.
Parrish et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al., Case No. 8:19-cv-01148-DSF-KES, was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on June 10, 2019. A fourth amended complaint was filed on June 30, 2020.
This complaint was filed on behalf of a class of all purchasers or lessees of any model year 2019 Volkswagen Jetta or model year 2018-2020 Volkswagen Tiguan equipped with an Aisin AWF8F35 8-Speed Automatic Transmission designed, manufactured by Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and sold or leased in the United States.
You will only have a short period of time to decide how to proceed. Notice of this class action settlement will be sent out to consumers by November 29, 2022. There will be a final approval hearing on February 27, 2023.
The current deadline for filing a class action settlement claim is February 12, 2023. Visit the class action settlement website to file a claim.
Current or former owners or lessees of these vehicles should be aware that the California lemon law and other state and federal laws may force VW to either “buy the vehicle back,” or provide other important compensation for those customers who experience this defect.
Under California’s lemon law, vehicles qualifying as “lemons” must be bought back. The 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., and that can mean a large cash refund and payoff of your loan or lease. In fact, depending on the circumstances, you could even qualify for two times your money back. There is a formula in the law that starts with you getting all your money back and then taking certain deductions and exclusions away from your payment.
Those refunds and exclusions are difficult to understand and can be fought against by knowledgeable consumer attorneys. And the lemon laws of particular states can differ from California.
Please note we are not counsel for the Class in the Parrish action, nor are we the settlement administrator.
The Jetta and Tiguan Transmission Class Action
On November 22, 2021, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Preliminary Approval of a Class Action Settlement. The court granted that motion on January 27, 2022, and set a series of deadlines, which are summarized below.
Notice of the class action settlement will be sent to all Class members for whom VW or the settlement administrator can locate a current mailing address by November 29, 2022. All members of the Settlement Class that do not submit a timely and valid written request for exclusion (also known as opting out of the settlement) will be bound by the releases in the Settlement Agreement as well as all orders in that lawsuit. The last date to opt out of the settlement is December 29, 2022, and the final approval hearing has been set for February 27, 2023.
What if you own one of these VW vehicles and you are experiencing transmission problems?
In a class action lawsuit, once the class is certified by the Court, the lawyers who bring the class action represent you until you opt-out of the Class. The class action lawyers must mail notice of the settlement terms and your right to object to the settlement or opt-out of the class by November 29, 2022.
Your options are: (a) object to the settlement, in which case you may get nothing but be bound by the settlement if the objection is rejected depending on how the settlement is structured, (b) submit a claim form if requested and get whatever relief is made available and you are also bound by the settlement, or (c) opt-out and pursue your own claims, in which case you are not bound by the settlement but cannot participate in any of the relief offered to class members.
For many people, a class action settlement may provide some benefits and does not require much effort to participate. It also comes with no risk, as the claims have been resolved.
But for others, particularly where they may have had multiple repair attempts, opting out and pursuing individual claims may provide an opportunity to receive a better recovery, understanding there is no guarantee they will get anything in a settlement.
Are you willing to consider the opportunity of getting a greater recovery as compared to taking what is offered in the class action settlement? When it comes to vehicle claims, what to do can be a complicated decision, as it depends on many factors, such as:
- how old is your car?
- have you had particular transmission problems in your car?
- have you had other problems with your car?
- have you taken it in for repairs on more than one occasion?
- do you buy your car new or used, and do you still own the car?
- is the car still under warranty?
- where do you live?
We are not counsel in the class action, nor are we the settlement administrator. Our goal is to provide you with an independent assessment of your options based on your circumstances, considering the factors set out above.
Jetta and Tiguan Transmission Class Action FAQ
Where was the class action lawsuit filed, and what does the complaint allege?
Parrish et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al., was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on June 10, 2019.
The Fourth Amended Complaint alleges that “due to the torque converter, says the 8-speed transmission in these vehicles grates, scuffs, scrapes, grinds, suffers hard and sudden shifts, delayed acceleration, hesitation, banging into gear and ultimately suffers broken seals and oil leaks, resulting in catastrophic failure.”
What VW models are affected by this transmission defect?
When the court granted the motion for preliminary settlement approval, the court certified for settlement purposes the following Settlement Class:
“All persons and entities who purchased or leased in the United States or Puerto Rico a Settlement Class Vehicle, defined as a model year 2019 Volkswagen Jetta vehicle, or a model year 2018, 2019 and/or 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan vehicle, that was imported and distributed by Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.”
Excluded from the Settlement Class are (a) all judges who have presided over the Action and their spouses; (b) all current employees, officers, directors, agents, and representatives of Defendant and their family members; (c) any affiliate, parent or subsidiary of Defendant and any entity in which Defendant has a controlling interest; (d) anyone acting like a used car dealer; (e) anyone who purchased a Class Vehicle for the purpose of commercial resale; (f) anyone who purchased a Class Vehicle with salvaged title and/or any insurance company who acquired a Class Vehicle as a result of a total loss; (g) any insurer of a Class Vehicle; (h) issuers of extended vehicle warranties and service contracts; (i) any Class Member who, prior to the date of this Agreement, settled with and released Defendant or any Released Parties from any Released Claims, and (j) any Settlement Class Member that files a timely and proper Request for Exclusion from the Settlement Class.
How many VW Jetta and Tiguan vehicles are impacted by this alleged transmission defect?
According to publicly available data, there are approximately 424,000 vehicles sold or leased by VW that fall within the Class definition.
What does the class action lawsuit claim is the cause of the transmission defect in these vehicles?
According to the allegations in the Fourth Amended Complaint, “the transmissions in these vehicles were designed to improve the Class Vehicles’ miles-per-gallon ratings in reaction to consumer demand to improve fuel economy…. VW calibrated the transmission’s software to engage higher gears at insufficient speeds and insufficient revolutions per minute and likewise programmed the torque converter to lock up at insufficient speeds and at insufficient RPMs. This programming led to stress in the torque converter. As a result, the transmission grates, scuffs, scrapes, grinds, suffers hard and sudden shifts, delayed acceleration, hesitation, banging into gear, and ultimately suffers broken seals and oil leaks, resulting in catastrophic failure.”
How does the transmission defect violate the vehicle’s warranty?
According to the allegations in the Complaint, “The New Vehicle Limited Warranty period is 6 years or 72,000 miles, whichever occurs first, except as specified in the section entitled “Limited Coverage.” Moreover, through the Federal Emissions Control System Defect Warranty, VW also agreed to provide coverage with respect to the Transmission Control Unit for a period of 8 years or 80,000 miles, whichever occurs first.
VW breached these express warranties by selling and leasing Class Vehicles with Transmissions that were defective, requiring repair or replacement within the warranty period, and refusing to honor the express warranty by repairing or replacing, free of charge, the transmission and its component parts, and instead, replacing the transmission and its components with equally defective transmissions and components.
VW also provides its owners with an implied warranty that the Class Vehicles and their components and parts are merchantable and fit for the ordinary purposes for which they were sold. However, the Class Vehicles are not fit for their ordinary purpose of providing reasonably reliable and safe transportation because, inter alia, the Class Vehicles and these transmissions suffered from an inherent defect at the time of sale and thereafter and are not fit for their particular purpose of providing safe and reliable transportation.
Contrary to the applicable implied warranties, the Class Vehicles’ transmissions at the time of sale and thereafter were not fit for their ordinary and intended purpose of providing Plaintiffs with reliable, durable, and safe transportation.”
Prior to the class action settlement, did VW offer consumers anything to resolve the Jetta and Tiguan transmission issues?
Prior to the settlement, VW was not providing any relief to consumers to completely resolve the transmission defect. According to the Complaint, “when consumers present their Class Vehicles to an authorized VW dealer for Transmission repairs, rather than repair the problem under warranty, VW dealers either inform consumers that their vehicles are functioning properly or conduct repairs that merely mask the Transmission Defect.” Now that the Court has preliminarily approved the settlement, VW is offering relief as part of a class action settlement, which is described below. This relief will only be provided if the Court finally approves the settlement.
Are the Tiguan and Jetta cars with this transmission issue unsafe?
According to the class action complaint, in addition to sudden complete transmission failures, this transmission defect “presents a further safety concern because it can cause the driver to lose transmission inputs, including acceleration. Unpredictable acceleration is unsafe, particularly when changing lanes, merging onto highways, and turning left across oncoming traffic.”
Has the VW transmission class action lawsuit been settled?
On January 27, 2021, the Court preliminarily approved a class action settlement in this action. You should receive a class notice advising you of the terms of the settlement, certain deadlines, and your options by no later than November 29, 2022. The Court also set the following schedule:
- November 29, 2022 – Deadline for claims administrator to mail class notice
- December 29, 2022 – Class member opt out and objection deadline
- January 20, 2023 – Deadline for motion for final approval
- February 27, 2023 – Final fairness hearing
The current deadline for filing a class action settlement claim is February 12, 2023. Visit the class action settlement website to file a claim.
To object to the settlement, a Settlement Class Member, individually or through counsel, must mail a written objection, with all supporting documents and/or memoranda, by regular first-class mail, postmarked no later than December 29, 2022 to the Settlement Counsel, Defendant’s Counsel and Claims Administrator. To request exclusion from the settlement you must include the following information:
- your full name, address and
- the model make, model year and VIN of the Vehicle;
- state that you are a present or former owner or lessee of at
- specifically and unambiguously state your desire to be
excluded from the Settlement Class
Settlement Class Counsel shall file their Motion for Final Approval of the Settlement no later than January 20, 2023, and their motion for payment of attorneys fees and costs by the date notice is mailed to the Settlement Class.
Please note we are not counsel for the Class in the class action, nor are we the settlement administrator. Our goal is to provide an independent assessment of your options based on your circumstances, considering the factors set out above. We are available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision.
In General, What Are the Terms of the Class Action Settlement?
VW shall issue to its authorized dealers a Technical Service Bulletin. Under this Bulletin, a current owner or lessee of a 2019 Volkswagen Jetta settlement class vehicle who, within twelve (12) months from the settlement notice date, presents their vehicle to an authorized Volkswagen dealer with a diagnosed and confirmed transmission rattling noise may receive from the dealer, free of charge, an update of the transmission control module software and installation of a damper weight on the drive shaft. You do not need to submit a claim form to participate in this part of the settlement, but you should be aware of the limited time frame to exercise this option.
VW will also extend its New Vehicle Limited Warranties applicable to 2018, 2019, and 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Vehicles to cover any repairs to address a diagnosed condition of transmission hesitation or jerking performed by an authorized Volkswagen dealer for an additional 12- months or 12,000-miles whichever occurs first from the date the original New Vehicle Limited Warranty period applicable to the transmission expires. However, this extension only applies to the vehicle if Recall 24GB was previously performed on the vehicle. You do not need to submit a claim form to participate in this part of the settlement, but you should determine whether you had this recall performed, as well as when this extended warranty would begin and end. You may need to obtain this information from an authorized repair facility for VW.
In addition, based on the timing of the repair, the type of repair, and who makes the repair (described in the settlement notice), settlement class members can receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket repairs and expenses of between $500 and $3,000 and 100% of the amount spent on all repairs. However, there are a number of conditions and limitations to submitting these reimbursement claims, which will be described in the settlement notice and on the settlement website when available.
For more of these settlement details, you can review the settlement class notice or visit the class action settlement website to file a claim.
Who Is Covered by the Class Action settlement?
The Court approved the following definition of the class for settlement purposes:
“All persons and entities who purchased or leased in the United States or Puerto Rico a Settlement Class Vehicle, defined as a model year 2019 Volkswagen Jetta vehicle, or a model year 2018, 2019 and/or 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan vehicle, that was imported and distributed by Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. for sale or lease in the United States or Puerto Rico.
Excluded from this definition are (a) all Judges who have presided over the Action and their spouses; (b) all current employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives of Defendant, and their family members; (c) any affiliate, parent or subsidiary of Defendant and any entity in which Defendant has a controlling interest; (d) anyone acting as a used car dealer; (e) anyone who purchased a Settlement Class Vehicle for the purpose of commercial resale; (f) anyone who purchased a Settlement Class Vehicle with salvaged title and/or any insurance company who acquired a Settlement Class Vehicle as a result of a total loss; (g) any insurer of a Settlement Class Vehicle; (h) issuers of extended vehicle warranties and service contracts; (i) any Settlement Class Member who, prior to the date of the Settlement Agreement, settled with and released Defendant or any Released Parties from any Released Claims, and (j) any Settlement Class Member who files a timely and proper Request for Exclusion from the Settlement Class.”
Note that both new and used vehicle owners and lessees appear to be covered by this settlement.
What Happens If I Don’t Opt Out of the Class Action Lawsuit or Settlement?
You will need to decide whether you want to participate in the settlement or opt-out of the settlement. The deadline to opt out of the settlement is December 29, 2022. If you do not opt-out of the settlement you will be bound by its terms. You will receive any benefits offered in the settlement, either automatically or by submitting a claim form, depending on the nature of your particular claim.
However, you will not be able to bring any individual claim for damages caused by this defect, except possibly for personal injury claims, if you do not opt-out of the settlement. If that settlement is finally approved, members of the Settlement Class that do not submit a timely and valid written request for exclusion in the manner provided in the class notice, will be bound by the releases in the Settlement Agreement and other terms and conditions set forth in that Agreement, as well as all proceedings, orders, and judgments in that lawsuit. Settlement Class members may exclude themselves from the settlement or object to the settlement, but they may not do both.
Why would I consider opting out of any class action settlement?
For some people, a class action provides them benefits without the need to spend any money or do much other than complete a claim form. And several of the benefits here will be extended automatically, although there are time limits to these benefits.
Because the matter is settled, as long as the Court finally approves the settlement, you will get the relief that is described in the class notice. If you elect to opt-out of the settlement class by submitting a Request for Exclusion, you will not be bound by the settlement and can pursue your own individual claims, but you will not be able to participate in the settlement benefits. If you have a legitimate case where you have experienced a transmission defect during the warranty, and it has not yet been repaired, you may not want to accept that settlement without first speaking to a qualified consumer attorney who has your individual best interest in mind.
Some people may qualify for much greater benefits by opting out and pursuing their own case. Making that decision depends on a variety of factors such as how old is your car, have you had transmission problems, have you taken it in for repairs, and how many times, do you still own the car, is it still under warranty and where do you live. Depending on your answers to those questions, while there is no guarantee you will receive any recovery if you opt-out, you may have the opportunity to receive significantly greater relief.
What is the California Song-Beverly Warranty Act?
For consumers located in California, the Song-Beverly Warranty Act, California Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), is a California state law that requires manufacturers to repair defects after a reasonable number of repair attempts. What is “reasonable” is not part of a hard and fast rule – safety defects should be fixed immediately, for example. The defects must “substantially impair the vehicle’s use, value, or safety.” Civil Code §1793.22(e)(2).
Under Civil Code §1793.2(d)(1), manufacturers are required to promptly offer the repurchase or replacement of vehicles they cannot fix in a reasonable time. In addition, Civil Code §1794(c) and §1793.2(d) provides that customers are entitled to a civil penalty in an amount up to two times actual damages if manufacturers acted “willfully” (meaning knowingly, not necessarily with wrongful intent) in ignoring or failing its obligation under Song-Beverly.
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.
May I have additional rights if I am a member of the Armed Forces?
Under California Civil Code 1795.8, if a person is a member of the Armed Forces, the protections of the Song-Beverly Act may apply, even if you purchased your vehicle outside of California. The member of the Armed Forces would need to show they were stationed in or a resident of California at the time they purchased the vehicle or at the time they filed a claim against the manufacturer.
Free Lemon Law Consultation
There is a lot to consider in deciding whether to pursue an individual lemon law claim or participate in this class action settlement.
The Hanson Law Firm is available to help you sort through these questions and make an informed decision.
Confidential • No cost • No obligation