The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of consumers who purchased certain vehicles that contain air bag control units manufactured by Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2010. The affected units have a power supply component that may corrode due to moisture and result in the failure of the unit.
This can affect the performance of safety systems, such as seat belt pretensioners (the devices that control slack and tightening of seatbelts) and air bags, which may not deploy in the event of a crash, increasing the risk of occupant injury. The air bags could also accidentally deploy for no reason and cause a crash.
If you or someone you know owns a vehicle that may be impacted by one of these defective air bags, our class action lawyers want to hear from you. Fill out our free case review today and tell us about your vehicle.
Who Does the Recall Affect?
The recall will affect more than 5 million vehicles worldwide, and around 2 million in the US. Honda, Fiat Chrysler Automotive, and Mercedes-Benz all utilized the air bag units manufactured by Continental, as well as three other manufactures who have yet to announce recalls.
The models that have had recalls issued are:
- 2008-10 Honda Accord
- 2009 Dodge Journey
- 2008-09 Dodge Grand Caravan
- 2008-09 Chrysler Town and Country
- 2009 Volkswagen Routan
- 2008-09 Mercedes-Benz C Class
- 2008-09 Mercedes-Benz GLK Class
The models listed above only amount to about 580,000 vehicles out of 5 million defective airbag control units. Continental also informed Volvo and Mazda that some of their models contain defective air bag control units but their decision to recall vehicles is pending and internal investigation.
Timeline of Events
According to documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, Continental knew about the defective air bags as far back as 2008. On January 30, 2008, Continental received an airbag control unit (“ACU”) from Daimler AG (“Daimler”) that was removed from a vehicle whose owner complained of an illuminated airbag warning light. Continental analyzed the ACU and determined the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), the lead power supply component for the ACU, was malfunctioning.
Continental then sent the ASIC to Atmel Corporation (“Atmel”) for further analysis. The Atmel investigation began in late March 2008, and also determined that the ASIC was malfunctioning. In response, Atmel implemented two countermeasures to reduce the likelihood of the ASIC’s failure in the future.
Atmel and Continental notified their customers of the investigation results and Atmel’s countermeasures and corrective action. Continental, Atmel, and the various vehicle manufacturers continued to monitor and analyze field returns and determined that after the countermeasures were implemented, field returns for this ASIC issue reduced significantly.
However, in early 2011, Continental became aware of two inadvertent deployments in the field, one from a Daimler vehicle and one from a Chrysler vehicle. Continental, Atmel, Chrysler, and Daimler continued to investigate this topic and the potential risk of an inadvertent deployment due to this ASIC issue.
In August 2011, Continental concluded that the inadvertent deployments that occurred in the Daimler and the Chrysler vehicles were related to this original ASIC issue from 2008.
Could I File a Lawsuit Against Continental If My Car Is Part of the Recall?
As of now the extent of the injuries caused by the defective airbags is unknown. Chrysler has confirmed it is aware of seven minor, potentially related injuries but no related accidents.
It also has reports of as many as 25 inadvertent airbag deployments. Honda has confirmed 2 injuries related to the defect. It also said there have been 74 injury allegations related to airbags that did not deploy but those are not confirmed.
With more car manufacturers expected to announce a recall, our lawyers have reason to believe owners of these models may be able to file lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries or a number of other losses. These potential claims include, but are not limited to, breach of warranty, violations of state deceptive trade practice acts, violations of the Magnuson-Moss Federal Warranty Act, and negligence.
Morgan & Morgan has extensive experience with automobile mass litigation, including lawsuits over Takata airbags, GM ignition switches and Volkswagen emissions fraud. We have won jury awards and settlements in the past against automakers, and our work in this area makes us uniquely qualified to handle large and complex class action cases.