NEWARK, N.J. – Ferrari and Bosch are defendants in a class-action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court here alleging a brake fluid leak had caused loss of braking capability in several models of the high-end Italian brand and the companies knew about the issue.

Ferrari agreed to a recall campaign in November 2021. Almost simultaneously the company informed owners of a potential braking issue that was under investigation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the recall notice had been scheduled for dissemination to owners beginning Dec. 21, 2021.

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Brake Fluid Leak Leads to Ferrari Recall

The recall population of 10,000 vehicles encompassed:

  • 2010-2015 Ferrari 458 Italia
  • 2014-2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale
  • 2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale A
  • 2012-2015 Ferrari 458 Spider
  • 2016-2019 Ferrari 488 GTB
  • 2016-2019 Ferrari 488 Spider

According to court papers filed Dec. 30, 2021 on behalf of Plaintiff Jeffrey Rose, he had received the following email from Ferrari Nov. 2, 2021:

“Ferrari is investigating whether a problem exists in certain Model Year 2016-2018 vehicles… [that] are equipped with a braking system that could potentially leak brake fluid, which may lead to a total loss of braking capability, and result in an accident… [I]f a message appears on your dashboard, “Brake fluid level low, Go to dealer slowly”, please pull off the road as soon as it is safe to do so. Then contact Ferrari Roadside Assistance… Your car will be taken to the nearest authorized Ferrari dealer and inspected free of charge. If necessary, Ferrari will perform any necessary repairs to your vehicle for free.”

Unfortunately for Rose, this message came well after his first experience with low brake fluid warning messages and potential issues. According to the court papers:

“On June 4, 2021, while running errands, Plaintiff Rose’s 2020 Vehicle [Ferrari 488 GTB] displayed a message on the left dash instrument panel that read: “brake fluid low – drive to dealer slowly.” Plaintiff Rose drove the Ferrari slowly home and pulled into the driveway of his residence at approximately 10 miles per hour in first gear. When he attempted to press the brake pedal nothing happened. Plaintiff Rose’s 2020 Vehicle continued moving forward into his yard with Plaintiff Rose continually trying to press the brakes but the brakes would not engage. Plaintiff Rose frantically released his seat belt, opened the driver’s side door and jumped out of the moving vehicle just before it entered the 20-foot-deep pond behind his residence and sunk to the bottom.”

Rose’s insurance company declared the car a total loss and he replaced it with a 2018 Ferrari GTB 488, which he claimed in July 2021 suffered complete brake failure as well.

Again, according to the filing, the “Brake fluid low — Drive to dealer slowly” warning was displayed. This time, he had the car towed to a dealership where it was repaired.

Ferrari said in the NHTSA Part 573 Safety Recall Report 21V-833:

“When the quantity of brake fluid in the relevant reservoir decreases by 52% of the maximum reservoir level (so that a percentage equal to 48% is still in such reservoir) a message will appear on the vehicle’s dashboard that reads as follows: ‘Brake fluid level low, Go to dealer slowly.’ Additionally, a warning light will also appear on the dashboard and an acoustic buzzer will sound.”

The plaintiff claimed had he and the other members of the class known of the potential defects they might not have purchased or leased the vehicles in question or paid as much for them as they did.

In addition, the plaintiff(s) allege Ferrari and Bosch knew of the potential defects and misled buyers by not disclosing the said issue.

The Ferrari brake failure lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, Newark Division: Jeffrey Rose, vs. Ferrari North America, Inc., et al.