Lawsuit Alleges Defective Transmissions in Certain Audi Models

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A lawsuit has been filed alleging that defective direct-shift gearbox transmissions are installed in certain Audi models.

The complaint, filed against Defendant Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., alleges the following cars have the defective transmission:

  • 2010-2015 Audi S4
  • 2010-2015 Audi S5
  • 2010-2015 Audi S6
  • 2010-2015 Audi S7
  • 2010-2015 Audi RS5

The third amended complaint, filed in August 2019, describes the alleged defect manifests as follows:

The transmissions cause sudden, rough, unexpected shaking, and violent jerking (commonly referred to as “juddering” or “shuddering”) when drivers attempt to accelerate Class Vehicles and shift into 2nd, 3rd, or 4th gear and attempt to decelerate. Further, Class Vehicles exhibit clunky downshifting and inhibited gear shifting. For example, the transmissions hesitate before responding to a driver’s input on the accelerator pedal, which prevents Class Vehicles from accelerating as intended by the driver, especially when accelerating from a complete stop. The Class Vehicles power surges while driving. The transmissions cause a hard downshift or clunk when drivers either slow down or accelerate at low speed (herein referred to as the “transmission defect”).  This defect creates unreasonably dangerous situations while driving and increases the risk of an accident, as the driver is unable to accelerate the vehicle when needed, or as expected by the Class Vehicle driver and other drivers on the road.  Often, the defect leaves the driver helpless and unable to sufficiently accelerate in order to keep up with traffic.

According to the complaint, Mike Madani, one of the named Plaintiffs, experienced the purported defect in his 2013 Audi S7; his vehicle bucked and jerked when he attempted to accelerate from a stopped position.  He further alleged that an Audi service department updated the vehicle’s software and changed his vehicle’s oil, but the vehicle resumed bucking and jerking when he tried to shift into gear from a stopped position.  Afterward, a mechanic performed a transmission fluid service and filter update, and an Audi service department performed a second service update.  Mr. Madani alleges he was charged for the work by the Audi service department, was told his repair would not be covered by the New Vehicle Limited Warranty, and still experiences the defect.

Legal claims

The plaintiffs raise claims of breach of express warranty, violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breach of implied warranty, violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act and California Unfair Competition Law, and violation of the Declaratory Judgment Act.  They also seek equitable injunctive and declaratory relief.

In alleging Audi “knew or should have known about the safety hazard posted by the transmission defect before the sale of the first Class Vehicles,” the complaint cites sources of information such as pre-market testing, warranty claims, and complaints submitted to the NHTSA and elsewhere.  

The lawsuit also contends Audi has been aware of defects surrounding the DSG transmissions since a 2009 recall of various vehicles due to transmission failures that caused them to “lose power and go into ‘limp mode’ while being driven.”  In addition, the plaintiffs allege, Audi issued transmission-related Technical Service Bulletins that further support their claim that Audi was or should have been aware of the purported defect prior to the sale of any of the class vehicles.

The lawsuit seeks remedies including restitution, attorney fees, and the repair or replacement of the class vehicles or a refund of the money paid to own or lease the class vehicles.

In July 2020, the court granted Defendant’s motion to partially dismiss the complaint.  In August 2020, Defendant filed its answer. The case is Mike Mandani, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., case number 4:17-cv-07287-HSG, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.