A putative class action has been filed against Nissan North America Inc. in an Illinois federal court. It’s alleged that the automaker concealed from consumers that certain Altima vehicles were equipped with defective floorboards that “substantially deteriorate” to the point where the roadway under the vehicle becomes visible. The suit claims model year 2002-2006 Nissan Altima vehicles feature floorboards that cannot withstand normal exposure to the elements, do not drain properly and rust to the degree where the floorboards deteriorate and holes open up. The putative class says Nissan failed to disclose the defect to consumers and refuses to cover the cost of repairs. The complaint alleges:

Because the replacement of the floorboard can cost several thousand dollars, and because Nissan refuses to recognize the existence of the defect or to cover the full cost of repairs, many owners of class vehicles are not in a position to replace the defective floorboard when they discover the problem.

Lead Plaintiff Marie DeMaria filed suit on behalf of herself and other consumers who purchased 2002-2006 Altima cars. She says at least one accident with injuries has been reported as a result of the defect, and that “hundreds” of other drivers have complained about the defect to Nissan and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), saying they no longer feel safe in their vehicles. It’s alleged that the Altima has “consistently accounted for a significant portion of Nissan’s sales.”

The automaker represents the car as a “top safety pick.” As with other cars, the Altima comes factory-equipped with floorboards at the bottom of the passenger cabin, made of metal and covered by carpet on the interior side, while the exterior side is exposed metal, the complaint says. It’s alleged further that while floorboards are “intended” to last the life of the vehicle, the affected Nissan models are “prone to rusting and corroding in the course of normal operation of the vehicles, which can lead to large holes developing in the floorboards.”

The lead Plaintiff says that Nissan allegedly knows of the defect, yet refuses to cover the cost of repairs. Drivers are forced to pay for their own replacement floorboards, and the automaker provides no guarantees that the replacement parts won’t suffer from the same problem, the suit says. The complaint asks that the judge certify a class of Illinois consumers who purchased the affected vehicles.

Source: Law360.com

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