DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co has been sued by a Pennsylvania woman seeking to force the U.S. automaker to fix rear-end problems on more than 400,000 Chevrolet Impala vehicles for 2007 and 2008 model years.
In 2008, GM told dealers to replace the rear-wheel spindle rods on Impala cars used by police because the issue could cause the tires to wear out.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, contends GM should also repair cars sold to consumers because many contain the same problem. It charged GM with breech of warranty and asked the court to compel the automaker the repair or replace the rear spindle rods.
“There are no relevant material differences between police vehicles and class members’ vehicles relating the defective spindle rods,” the lawsuit said.
GM declined to comment, saying it does not discuss matters in litigation, but did confirm it sent a dealer notice regarding the rear suspension issue.
GM built about 24,000 police versions of the Impala in the 2007 and 2008 model years. According to the lawsuit, 423,000 Impala cars were sold over the two-year period.
Donna Trusky of Blakely, Pennsylvania, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, bought an Impala in February 2008, but after 6,000 miles, the tread on the car’s rear tires were so worn that their use was “questionable”, according to the lawsuit.
A dealer paid for new rear tires and provided a front-end alignment, but did not mention the potential problem with the rear spindle rods, according to the lawsuit. In November 2010, with a little over 24,000 miles on the car, Trusky replaced the rear tires again for about $290.
“Defendant concealed the existence of the defect from class members, even those who presented their vehicles for repair of the defect,” the lawsuit said of GM.
Lawyers for Trusky said complaints about the issue have been filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as on a number of auto websites, including edmunds.com.
The case is Trusky v. General Motors Company, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, case no. 2:11-cv-12815.
Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; writing by Deepa Seetharaman; editing by Tim Dobbyn