Consumers in Chicago Sue Honda for Hiding Defect

Consumers in Chicago have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Honda America claiming the manufacturer sold thousands of vehicles that contain a critical safety flaw putting drivers and others at serious risk of injury.

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The suit claims that a wide range of Honda vehicles including the popular Odyssey, Passport and sister-brand Acura models share a flawed ‘auto start/stop’ function (also called “Idle Stop”) intended to save fuel by shutting the engine down at stops. The complaint alleges that the Idle Stop system routinely fails to restart the engine as designed, leaving drivers unable to move their vehicles from intersections and highway entrances, among other locations.

According to the 113-page complaint filed in United States District Court in Chicago, Honda was fully aware of the defect before marketing the vehicles and has been deluged with complaints and reports from drivers who have been put in harm’s way by the defect. Elizabeth Fegan, managing partner of FeganScott, the consumer-rights law firm filing the case said:

“We intend to demonstrate in court that Honda knew of the defect but chose to ignore the very serious safety implications in the Idle Stop system out of a desire to bring the vehicles to market quickly, at any cost. What’s more, we have evidence that Honda sent notices to its dealers as early as 2017 warning them of the defect, while keeping news of the defect secret from the driving public.”

According to the complaint, while Honda remained mute about the defect, consumers learned of the problem only after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced it was conducting an investigation regarding the Idle Stop defect in June 2022.

“All the drivers we’ve spoken to have very similar experiences; panic when they try to move their cars from intersections, freeway onramps and other dangerous locations and finding themselves stuck in place,” Fegan added. “One parent reported that she was stranded in a busy intersection with her kids in the car, describing the situation as being ‘dead in the water.’” Fegan went on to add:

“This is more than an inconvenience; this defect puts drivers at very serious peril, and we intend to hold Honda accountable for its actions.”

The vehicles listed in the suit include: 2018-2020 Honda Odyssey, 2016-2020 Honda Pilot, 2019-2020 Honda Passport, 2015-2020 Acura TLX, and 2015-2020 Acura MDX that are equipped with the Idle Stop feature.

From BusinessWire

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