We expect car manufacturers to know what they’re doing when they’re building the cars we need to safely drive on the road. We assume that controls and features are designed in such a way that will not be inconvenient or dangerous to the driver. However, it’s not uncommon that these manufacturers make mistakes, or are frankly just negligent. BMW’s newest vehicle, the X7, falls into that second category. Someone either wasn’t paying attention when they designed and assembled the car, or someone failed to understand just how a car should be made when developing this new vehicle.
As it turns out, the mistake that BMW made when designing their new vehicle was putting the control module for the airbags beneath the faulty cup holders. If you were thinking of putting your cup of coffee or soda in one of those cup holders, think again because if any liquid gets inside the cup holder, it could cause the airbags to become defective and deploy. Not only does that include any spillage into the cup holder, but even condensation that might come off a closed, cold beverage. In one case, a driver reported that when the cupholders became wet, it wasn’t their airbags that had a problem, but their engine: their car to come to a stop and refuse to shift. What if such things happened while in the middle of a highway, or during a sharp turn when your drink is most likely to spill?
What is BMW doing about the defect?
While nobody has been hurt yet by this defective part, the cost to repair this design flaw is expensive, costing up to $2,000. BMW refuses to pay these costs, even when the car is still under warranty. That is outrageous since the design flaw seems to be a very dangerous one. At the vert least, you’d think they would cover the costs of a repair for a car still under warranty, but alas – they will not.
Perhaps BMW is balking at the repair price because they have spent considerable money fixing problems with their vehicles in the past. According to www.cars.com, the BMW X7 has been recalled sixteen times since 2018. None of those recalls were for the cup holder/airbag design flaws, but this many recalls speaks to the quality of the product BMW is producing.
What are common car defects?
While this defect from BMW is particularly galling, it should remind us that auto defects are common. Some of the most common car defects are:
- Suddenly malfunctioning steering wheels.
- Defects in the accelerator that cause the car to suddenly speed up or slow down.
- Defects in the tires that uneven wear and tear and tread separation.
- Airbags that deploy suddenly with too much force, at the wrong time, or not at all. (BMW X7 falls into this category).
- Defects in the seat that cause it to fall down for no reason, possibly not at all.
- Defective seat belts that do not stay closed, or unbuckle for no reason.
- Defective brakes that stick or fail.
- Faulty fuel lines which may cause car fires.
Defects such as these are dangerous ones, and if they exist in your vehicle, you should file a claim against the manufacturer of your vehicle.
Can you file a product liability claim against BMW for the defective cupholders?
Product liability “refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product.” That includes the design defects, and not just defects in the manufacturing of the product. In most states, it is on the consumer to provide the burden of proof that there is a design defect, but in this case it is rather obvious, and now a well-known defect.
However, you really want to hire a Phoenix product liability lawyer to review your potential case because these claims can be challenging. Don’t lose heart – these arguments can be made, and we can talk about it during a free consultation at our office.
Plattner Verderame PC is experienced at obtaining compensation for their clients who suffered injuries and harms from auto defects. First, however, there are a few things we need to make sure of before filing a product liability claim:
- That the manufacturer knew there was a problem in the design or manufacturing of the vehicle before it was sent out to the public, or
- The manufacturer knew there was a defect, yet refused to recall the vehicles, or
- The manufacturer was already aware of the defect, and tried to cover it up, or
- The manufacturer learned of the problem and refused to recall the product, or fix any older, current or future version of the car.
The ball, as they say, is in BMW’s court.
BMW made a critical error when designing their new X7 model by having the control module for the airbags located under the cup holders. Not only can you safely keep a beverage in those cupholders lest it spill, you can’t let any sort of moisture collect in the cupholders either. It’s a dangerous flaw, and one that seems easily avoidable as other vehicles seem to avoid this sort of design flaw.
If you are in a situation where you own this model of BMW or any vehicle with a design or manufacturing defect, then you should contact an attorney who is sure to get you proper compensation. The Phoenix auto defect attorneys at Plattner Verderame PC can help you. Call 602-266-2002 and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and dedicated attorneys in Phoenix or Tempe, or use our contact page to schedule a free consultation.
I have been active in leadership in the Arizona Association for Justice (lawyers who represent injured folks, and formerly known as the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association) since 1985. I served as President in 1991. I was an active participant in battles to protect the Arizona Constitution from the insurance industry and big business interests in 1986, 1990 and 1994.
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