BYD Auto 3 vehicles (Photo: Tomer Feder)
Class actions were born as an important consumer tool designed to collect an economic price from manufacturers who supply customers with defective products on a large scale.
In the automotive sector, for example, in recent years we have seen such important lawsuits against the DSG gearbox in Volkswagen Group models and against Ford, for the dual-clutch robotic gearbox in the Focus, which ended in extended warranty, refunds for repairs, and compensation for the drivers.
Discussions are currently underway on requests for class action lawsuits against Subaru, for excessive oil consumption in the first generation XV engines, and against Renault and Dacia for failures in their 1,200 cc turbo gasoline engines. A request for a class action lawsuit was recently approved against the Volkswagen Group in the Dieselgate affair.
This is how the process works: a request for a lawsuit is submitted on behalf of a number of drivers, the courts decide whether to recognize the lawsuit as a class action, and if so, the discussions begin again and usually the parties reach an agreement on the method of compensation and payment to the lawyers who filed the lawsuit, and the court is required to confirm them.
Photograph of the roof of the vehicle from the lawsuit (Photo: Attorney Idan Iden)
But sometimes these claims turn in more abstract directions.
A request for a class action against Shlomo Motors, importers of Chinese BYD vehicles, and against BYD itself was submitted to the Central Lod District Court this week.
The reason: a claim for waves and distortions in the roof of the electric Hato 3 model, in a hidden section between the side trim strips and the sun window.
According to lawyer Idan Iden, who signed the lawsuit on behalf of two of the car's owners, it is a fundamental defect that will cause a decrease in value and will require repair, and that the damage of each car owner is NIS 33,260, about a fifth of the car's new price.
Idan is attaching to the lawsuit expert opinions that support his claim.
Is there a reason for the claim?
That will have to be determined by the court.
We have already seen claims that were accepted and those that were rejected, and also those in which there was a very large gap between the amount of compensation for ordinary customers, compared to the amount received by the first plaintiffs and their lawyers.
Shlomo Motors stated: "From our inspection with the manufacturer, it appears that the structure of the luggage rack on the roof of the BYD Atto 3 is an accepted and widespread structure in the automobile industry and is intended for reinforcement and appearance. Such a design can lead to slight differences in the appearance of the surface, but this has no effect on the vehicle's performance and safety."
Law and insurance