— Jeep Cherokee 9-speed transmission issues have caused a proposed class-action lawsuit that alleges model year 2016 Cherokees suddenly accelerate, decelerate and lose power while driving.
According to plaintiff Lisa Cummings, Fiat Chrysler (FCA US) knows the 9-speed transmissions are defective but conceals the defects to keep selling the SUVs.
Cummings purchased a new 2016 Jeep Cherokee and has allegedly experienced multiple transmission issues, including when her grandchildren were riding with her.
The plaintiff says she was driving at about 70 miles per hour when the Jeep Cherokee quickly decelerated to a speed of around 20 to 25 miles per hour. The semi-truck behind Ms. Cummings nearly hit the 2016 Cherokee, and the plaintiff claims she now avoids driving the Jeep on the freeway.
The Cherokee allegedly does not change gears reliably and can sometimes take a minute or longer for the 9-speed transmission to shift from reverse to drive.
Cummings says within a week of buying the Jeep she returned it to the FCA dealership and complained about the acceleration and deceleration problems. Technicians allegedly "flashed" the Cherokee and told the plaintiff the transmission wouldn't cause her additional issues.
The plaintiff says she has taken the Cherokee back to the dealer about eight times and complained about the transmission problems and how they cause safety hazards while driving, but FCA and its dealers allegedly deny there are any problems.
The 9-speed transmissions are manufactured by ZF Friedrichshaffen AG and installed in thousands of 2016 Jeep Cherokees. According to the plaintiff, the SUVs lose power, have shifting problems, make sudden forward movements and finally lose power when the transmissions fail.
Cummings claims Chrysler misled consumers about the safety of the 2016 Cherokees when the automaker allegedly knew in 2013 about the transmission issues. In addition to the dangers of driving the Jeeps, the lawsuit alleges customers were convinced to buy or lease the Cherokees only because FCA omitted valuable information about the transmissions.
The lawsuit references transmission complaints from 2016 Jeep Cherokee owners, and many of those complaints were submitted to CarComplaints.com.
"This piece of junk vehicle has done nothing but give me problems since the day I bought it!!! Now the hunk of junk slams into gear when driving. It feels like you get rear ended. Oh and don't let me be going down a steep hill that I have to brake on, the rpm with ramp all the way into the red zone and never downshift until I slam the brakes as hard as I can."
"My wife is the primary driver of this 2016 Jeep Cherokee, and when we bought this, the salesman was pitching his whole "Jeep Reliability" speech! On her way from work, she called me and said that the Cherokee just all of a sudden started to lunge, and that it felt like it wanted to stall. The service department was already closed, but yesterday (Dec 15, 2017) they called her and said that the entire transmission was shot! They would have to replace the whole thing - so new transmission supposedly coming in from Detroit (2 weeks) and another week to do the work!"
According to the class-action, Chrysler issued technical service bulletins for the 2016 Jeep Cherokees after driver complaints. On August 31, 2016, FCA issued TSB SB-21-013-16 which informed dealers what to do if 2016 Cherokee customers “indicated that their transmission shift quality may be erratic.”
In February 2017, FCA issued TSB 18-018-17 to its dealers which superseded TSB 18-014-16 issued on September 3, 2016. The February 2017 bulletin concerned 2016 Cherokees that experienced “[a] Transmission Tip-In Bump (when accelerating out of 4th gear).”
Another bulletin (21-008-17) was issued to dealers in April 2017 covering the 2016 Jeep Cherokee concerning the procedure to follow for customers who reported:
“[a] harsh 4-5 upshift[,]” “5-4 coast down transmission shift quality enhancement[,]” “[l]ess than desired low speed drivability and response to accelerator pedal input[,]” “[l]ess than desired transmission shift quality[,]” a“[t]ransmission [that] is slow to upshift after releasing the accelerator pedal[,]” “[l]ess than optimal transmission shift timing, driving up and down hills[,]” or “[l]ess than desired Engine Stop/Start re-engagement or smoothness.”
The bulletins allegedly did no good as the lawsuit alleges dealer repairs haven't solved the 9-speed transmission issues and Cherokee owners are the ones paying for FCA's mistakes.
The Jeep Cherokee 9-speed transmission lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York - Lisa Cummings, et al., v. FCA US LLC.
The plaintiff is represented by Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber, LLP.