BMW Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Fire-Starting Battery Defect

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BMW Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Fire-Starting Battery Defect
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BMW is facing a class action lawsuit on behalf of Californians who bought or leased certain 2020-2021 hybrid vehicles.

This lawsuit came about due to alleged manufacturing defects that, according to the suit, rendered the battery systems in certain hybrid BMW vehicles unreasonably dangerous. According to a bulletin put out by BMW in regard to this defect, “Debris may have entered one or more of the hybrid battery cells during their production.” This debris puts the batteries at risk of short-circuiting, which could result in battery fires, injuries, and even deaths.

Driving in manual mode, sports mode, using the shift paddle, or charging the battery exacerbates the problem.

BMW has advised drivers to avoid driving in the above modes and to avoid using the shift paddles or charging the battery. Other than these recommendations, it seems that the luxury vehicle manufacturer has failed to present any actual remedies to the defective system, leaving drivers to deal with the defective batteries themselves in what seems to be a risky waiting game. BMW has admitted to being aware of four battery fires so far, but no related customer injuries or crashes.

The debris in these Samsung high-voltage batteries is thought to have occurred in the same manufacturing period.

It seems that Samsung was aware of a period during the manufacturing of these batteries where a higher rate of impurities (i.e. debris) was present. The BMW vehicles outfitted with these defective batteries include the following models:

  • 2020-2021 BMW 530e
  • 2020-2021 BMW 530e xDrive
  • 2020-2021 BMW 530e iPerformance
  • 2020-2021 BMW X3 xDrive30e
  • 2020-2021 MINI Cooper Countryman All4 SE
  • 2020 BMW i8
  • 2021 BMW 330e
  • 2021 BMW 330e xDrive
  • 2021 BMW 745Le xDrive
  • 2021 BMW X5 xDrive45e

BMW is expected to inform customers of the recall, but does not yet have repairs available.

Auto defects are not uncommon; in fact, according to Cars.com, automakers generally recall from 10 million to 20 million vehicles each year. The recall for this class of vehicles was expected to begin in November of 2020 and includes approximately 26,000 cars. However, seeing as the expected repairs are not currently available, this leaves that many vehicle owners and their families without a means of safe transportation.

This class action seeks damages including buy back refunds, an injunction to stop selling these vehicles, and damages for allegedly fraudulent conduct by BMW.

Under California’s Lemon Law, the owners of these vehicles may be eligible to buy back refunds for their defective vehicles. However, the reality of this assumption remains to be seen in the results of the lawsuit. The lawsuit is also seeking an official court order to prevent BMW from selling any more of these vehicles until a permanent fix is available to every customer. Finally, the class is seeking additional damages for allegedly fraudulent behavior from the vehicle manufacturer; the lawsuit alleges that BMW was aware of the defect before releasing the cars yet intentionally concealed the problem from their customers. If these allegations are true, BMW could find itself in hot water.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury caused or contributed to by a potentially defective car part, talk to a product liability attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for physical and financial recovery.

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