— A VW transmission lawsuit won't be dismissed after the automaker failed to convince the judge the 8-speed transmissions don't have defects.
The plaintiffs allege owners of 2019-present Volkswagen Jettas and 2018-present VW Tiguans are equipped with defective transmissions.
The lawsuit alleges Volkswagen intentionally, “calibrated the Transmission’s software to engage higher gears at insufficient speeds and insufficient revolutions per minute (‘RPMs’) and likewise programmed the torque converter to lock up at insufficient speeds and at insufficient RPMs.”
This allegedly causes the transmissions to make all sorts of noises, including "grates, scuffs, scrapes, grinds, suffers hard and sudden shifts, delayed acceleration, hesitation, banging into gear, and ultimately suffers broken seals and oil leaks, resulting in catastrophic failure.”
One of the plaintiffs claim a coffee grinder noise comes from the transmission, and another plaintiff claims the Jetta transmission makes a growling noise when driving below 25 mph.
According to the 8-speed transmission lawsuit, VW dealers allegedly tell customers the noise and problems are normal, while the plaintiffs allege broken seals and oil leaks cause complete transmission failures.
VW owners say they experience acceleration problems due to the transmission problems, causing drivers fear while driving at highway speeds.
The plaintiffs argue the existence of more than 100 complaints filed with the government between March 2018 and October 2019 are enough evidence to show Volkswagen knew about alleged transmission problems.
VW says the complaints are not enough to allege the automaker knew about alleged transmission problems because most of the complaints are dated after the plaintiffs purchased their vehicles. In addition, VW says the complaints aren't about the same alleged defect and weren't filed directly with the automaker.
With thousands of vehicles on the roads, even 40 complaints cannot be considered an unusually high number of complaints, according to Volkswagen. But the judge disagreed and ruled the allegation is sufficient to move forward.
The judge also agreed with the plaintiffs when they argued a "technical tip" sent to dealerships shows VW had notice of possible transmission problems when the vehicles were sold.
The document mentions:
"Scraping, grating or scuffing noise from between the engine and transmission when at lower speeds in higher gears. Commonly heard when shifting into 5th gear at speeds of 20-25 mph, under light load. Noise can be heard in most gear changes under the right conditions."
According to the judge, one of the plaintiffs purchased his vehicle before Volkswagen sent the document to dealerships, but the automaker still must have known about possible transmission problems prior to the date the document was sent to dealers.
The VW transmission lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California - Parrish, et al., v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by Capstone Law, and Berger Montague.