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In October 2017, Mercedes Benz implemented a massive recall of over one million vehicles worldwide because of airbag defects. This recall was not related to the worldwide Takata airbag inflator recall, but was a separate issue involving a different type of defect.

Now, the company faces a new lawsuit filed by plaintiffs who claim the recall was a sham, and that Mercedes has not followed through with appropriate repairs, putting owners’ safety at risk.

Daimler AG Recalls Vehicles Due to Potential for Unexpected Air Bag Deployment

According to Reuters, Daimler AG recalled certain Mercedes cars and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) because of potential unintended airbag deployments. Nearly 500,000 vehicles in the U.S. were affected, with about 400,000 in Britain and 76,000 in Canada. Vehicles include some 2012-2018 model year A, B, C, and E-Class cars, as well as CLA, GLA, and GLC SUVs.

The problem is that the airbags may deploy without warning, even while the driver is driving the vehicle. The problem may occur if two conditions are present:

  1. The steering column module clock spring is broken (due to wear)
  2. Insufficiently grounded components are exposed to an electrostatic discharge

If both of these things occur, the airbag can inadvertently deploy, presenting a crash hazard. Mercedes reported a “handful” of instances when this happened, and drivers suffered from minor abrasions or bruises. At this time, Daimler AG has reported no serious injuries and/or deaths.

The company promised to notify consumers of the recall and to replace the defective components to fix the problem. As part of the repair, technicians were to add new grounding to the steering components. They advised vehicle owners to continue driving their vehicles unless the SRS warning light on the instrument panel illuminated. If it did, owners were to take the vehicle to a dealer to find out if the warning was related to the recall.

Plaintiffs Claim Daimler AG Conducted a “Sham” Recall

In a recent lawsuit filed against Daimler AG in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, plaintiffs claim that Mercedes implemented a “sham” recall, leaving consumers at risk while delaying the actual repairs for the problem. They also allege that 18 people have been killed worldwide by these defective airbags, yet vehicle owners are still driving these potentially dangerous vehicles around while waiting for dealerships to receive the required parts.

The lawsuit is a proposed class action that, if approved, would include all consumers in the U.S. who have purchased or leased the vehicles affected by the recall. These include:

  • 2014-2017 B-Class electric
  • 2012-2018 C-Class
  • 2012-2017 E-Class
  • 2014-2018 CLA-Class
  • 2015-2018 GLA-Class
  • 2013-2018 GLK-Class

Plaintiffs state in their complaint that they received initial notices from the company at the end of 2017 about the need for repairs, but then received follow-up notices explaining that repairs may take much longer. Now, over six months after the initial recall was announced, consumers are still waiting. The plaintiffs add that the company has not committed to a reliable repair date and keeps putting customers off, increasing safety risk while escaping responsibility.

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