GM Settles Continuously Variable Lawsuit
More than 90k purchasers of ’02 – ’05 Saturn Vues and ’03 – ’04 Ions have opted for GM’s VTi continuously-variable transmission. And though it’s tempting to trot-out ye olde caveat emptor, GM is taking responsibility for the widespread failure of its cogless boxes. Since the transmissions cost $4k – $5k to replace, and the preliminary settlement covers repairs, car rentals, towing and trade-in losses, plaintiff lawyers reckon GM could be on the hook for up to $100m. Meanwhile, according to Automotive News, GM’s lawyers demonstrate the carefree optimism of their corporate masters, estimating final settlement costs at $10m – $20m. The settlement will include payments to a yet-to-be-determined class of Vue and Ion owners based on the mileage of the vehicle when the transmission failed, and whether owners purchased the vehicle new or used. The vehicles must have failed within 125k miles or eight years of the purchase date. Although GM lawyer Joe Lines was happy to call the $90 – $100m cost “wildly exaggerated,” he declined to provide a failure rate for the transmission. More tellingly, the settlement means that GM must agree with the “exceptionally prone to premature failure” characterization in the original lawsuit.
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