Source: Law360.com post
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Volkswagen (VW) was hit with a proposed consumer class action in Missouri federal court Aug. 4th alleging it knowingly sold vehicles with defective collision-avoidance technology that would cause the cars to abruptly brake unnecessarily or completely stall on the road.
The drivers alleged that Volkswagen Group of America Inc. failed to tell consumers that certain 2015-2019 Volkswagen vehicles equipped with the so-called front-assist feature were predisposed to a manufacturing defect and software coding issues that caused the braking system to suddenly and unexpectedly engage without driver input.
Affected vehicles include the VW Atlas, Jetta, Touareg, Tiguan and Golf models, according to the complaint.
Because of the unnecessary automatic braking (AEB), the vehicles could suddenly and unexpectedly slow, stop or stall altogether while the vehicle is being operated, the drivers alleged in the 41-count complaint.
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“Instead of making the class vehicles safer to operate, however, the front assist defect actually makes them significantly more dangerous to operate — to both the class vehicles’ occupants and to drivers and pedestrians in the vicinity of the class vehicles — when the brakes are suddenly engaged by the vehicle without reason and without warning,” the drivers alleged in the complaint.
Volkswagen’s front assist-feature combines several elements including autonomous emergency braking that is intended to prevent forward collisions, such as rear-ending another car that is in front of one’s vehicle, as well as a monitoring system that warns of pedestrians that cross in front of the vehicle, the suit noted.
The drivers alleged that Volkswagen has known about the front-assist defect since at least October 2017 but actively hid the defect from consumers who wouldn’t have paid as much to buy or lease the vehicles had they known about the erratic feature.
In fact, there have been numerous consumer complaints logged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration detailing incidents involving the brakes activating for no reason, sometimes along empty roads or parking lots, the drivers said.
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