Automobile manufacturers owe a duty to provide purchasers with products free of defects. A manufacturer has strict liability when producing a faulty vehicle.
Assembly lines generally have staff assigned to inspect and test new cars before delivering them to a dealership. A design defect may, however, go unnoticed until a purchaser files a complaint.
In many cases, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may order a recall of specific auto models to prevent harm or vehicle operating issues. Affected purchasers could receive a new replacement car or have complimentary repairs performed.
A manufacturer must warn purchasers
When a flaw is part of a car’s design, the manufacturer owes a duty of care to warn users of its potential danger or operating issue. For example, if a necessary part could cause burns, the manufacturer must place a visible sign on the affected area.
A large and noticeable “do not touch” label or a fire symbol may provide a reasonable warning to keep away from a hazardous part. If a jury finds that a car manufacturer failed to warn drivers of a risk of an injury, it may face strict liability for breaching its duty.
Company settles lawsuit alleging transmission defect
Several purchasers filed a successful legal action against a car manufacturer related to the dual-clutch transmission used in two of its popular models. Reportedly, repairs that the owners made failed to prevent their cars from vibrating while accelerating after a stop.
As reported by Car and Driver magazine, evidence uncovered that the vehicle manufacturer knew of the transmission’s design defects but included them during production. Although the NHTSA did not find a threat to driver safety, the lawsuit has so far cost the manufacturer upwards of $45 million in vehicle buybacks.