Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Hyundai For Allegedly Defective “Smart Trunks”

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Hyundai Motor America allegedly installed defective “Smart Trunks" in some of its vehicles, according to a class action lawsuit pending in Pennsylvania federal court.

The Smart Trunk (“Smart Trunk”), which Hyundai first made available on its model-year 2015 vehicles, is a proximity-activated trunk lid which can be opened by standing directly behind the vehicle with the vehicle’s key fob in one’s hand, pocket, or purse. The key fob automatically sends a radio signal to the vehicle that tells it to open the trunk – no buttons on the key fob need to be pressed. Hyundai promoted the Smart Trunk as a “hands-free” feature that automatically opens the trunk fully, or at least wide enough for a person to deposit bulky items into the trunk – such as shopping bags, duffle bags, and sports equipment – without having to put the items down or manually open the trunk lid.

However, the class action lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania resident alleges that Hyundai has sold and leased countless vehicles, including the plaintiff’s 2015 Hyundai Sonata, equipped with defective Smart Trunks that never open more than a crack. Instead of automatically opening as advertised, the plaintiff alleges that they simply unlatch, requiring consumers to manually push open the trunk lid, thereby failing to provide the “hands-free” convenience the Smart Trunk is advertised to deliver. The complaint further states that Hyundai failed to inform plaintiff and class members that the Smart Trunk does not open as wide as depicted in advertisements and that it possesses a defect that, in many cases, prevents the trunk from opening to any appreciable or useful degree.

The class action asserts that the Smart Trunk comes as a standard feature on the “2015 Sonata (Sport, Limited, and Sport 2.0T);1 2015 Azera (all trims); 2015 Genesis (all trims); 2016 Sonata (Limited, Sport 2.0T, and Limited 2.0T); 2016 Azera (all trims); 2016 Genesis (all trims); 2017 Elantra (Eco and Limited); and the 2017 Sonata (Limited and Limited 2.0T).” In addition, the Smart Trunk was an extra option costing between $950 and $1,900 on the Hyundai 2015 Sonata (Eco), 2016 Sonata (Sport), 2017 Sonata (Sport), and the 2017 Elantra (SE).

The Hyundai class action suit, brought by the plaintiff on behalf of himself and all other purchasers and lessees of Hyundai vehicles equipped with Smart Trunks, charges the car company with breaching its express and implied warranty obligations because it allegedly failed to deliver conforming, non-defective Smart Trunks to consumers despite, in many cases, multiple repair attempts. In addition to breaching its express and implied warranties, Hyundai is alleged to have made misrepresentations and knowingly failed to disclose material facts about the Smart Trunks to consumers in violation of the California Unfair Competition Law, the California False Advertising Law, the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and as a result was unjustly enriched by its conduct.

The plaintiff is represented by Noah Axler and Marc Goldich of Axler Goldich LLC, Natalie Finkelman Bennett and James C. Shah of Shepherd Finkelman Miller & Shah LLP, and Robert P. Cocco of Robert P. Cocco, P.C. The Hyundai Smart Trunk Class Action Lawsuit is Riaubia v. Hyundai Motor America, Case No. 2:16-cv-05150-CDJ, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

WHAT SHOULD OWNERS KNOW ABOUT THE OPERATION OF THE AFFECTED HYUNDAI VEHICLES?

Owners of the affected vehicles will have Smart Trunks which do not automatically open or do not open all the way without the use of hands or otherwise having to manually open the trunk.

HOW CAN HYUNDAI OWNERS FIND MORE INFORMATION?

Owners who have experienced any issues with their Smart Trunks or who have had to have their vehicles repeatedly serviced in an attempt to get the Smart Trunk to work properly should contact the attorneys at Axler Goldich to learn their legal rights by calling 866-207-2920, emailing Hyundai(at)axgolaw(dot)com, or filling out an intake form at http://www.axlergoldich.com.

If you own a Hyundai vehicle, model year 2015 or newer, equipped with a “Smart Trunk," you may be eligible to join the class action. Call 866-207-2920 for more information.

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Marc Goldich
@AxlerGoldichLLC
since: 02/2016
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Axler Goldich LLC
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