A class action lawsuit has been filed in a New Jersey court against car company Subaru. The basis of the suit is regarding the hood locking mechanism on Subaru’s 2006 B9 Tribeca. The complaint alleges that the car model’s hood lock is defective, citing several instances where the hood flew open unexpectedly while vehicles were traveling at highway speeds, cracking windshields, causing substantial damage to the cars, and blocking drivers’ view of the road.
Pennsylvania resident Marion Hadley filed the suit on behalf of herself and others similarly situated. In early 2006, Hadley purchased a new 2006 B9 Subaru Tribeca from an authorized Subaru dealer. On May 20, 2015, Hadley was traveling about 65 miles per hour on a road near Yardley, Pennsylvania, when her hood suddenly flew open, fracturing her windshield and dislodging her rearview mirror. Hadley was covered in glass and largely unable to see the road due to the open hood. Fortunately, she was able to pull to the side of the road without further incident and she received assistance from fellow motorists.
Over the next few months, Hadley and her daughter wrote to Subaru several times, requesting that the company take responsibility for the lock defect and the thousands of dollars in damages it caused. The lawsuit asserts that Subaru not only took no responsibility for the accident, but it also refused to even examine Hadley’s vehicle.
Public documents show that Subaru has sold about 18,000 of the Tribeca models in question. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website has logged seventeen similar instances of hood mechanism accidents with the same Tribeca model, and no instances with any other 2006 model of Subaru. In fact, the Tribeca accounted for just 9% of 2006 model year sales, and it accounted for 100% of unexpected hood flying open instances that cracked windshields. The lawsuit alleges that there has been longstanding knowledge of the hood locking mechanism defect through public complaints and internal testing at Subaru. Yet, the company has refused to take responsibility for the problem, refusing to issue a recall and denying customer requests to pay for repairs related to the defect.
The complaint states that the 2006 B9 Subaru Tribeca is defectively designed and prone to failing in an extremely dangerous manner, putting Subaru drivers, their passengers, and others on the road at serious risk of substantial injury or death. It also states that Subaru actively concealed the hood mechanism defect—and the costs it would take to repair the model. Members of the class action assert Subaru will not remedy their defective vehicles. Instead, they suggest car owners seek reimbursement through their insurance companies.
This lawsuit was filed in early October, 2015. We will update the matter in early 2016.