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New Jersey Judge Dismissed Proposed Class Action Against BMW for Alleged Engine Defects and Failure to Correct Hazard



On October 31, 2011, a federal district judge in New Jersey, the Honorable Susan D. Wigenton, dismissed a proposed class action against luxury carmaker BMW of North America, LLC (BMW). The proposed class action alleged that BMW hid a major fuel injection defect in its N54 engine and that the manufacturer failed to address the serious engine hazard. The plaintiffs’ suit alleged that certain BMW vehicles had defective fuel injection systems and high-pressure fuel pumps, among other problems.

New Jersey Federal Court’s Response to BMW Owners’ Attempted Class Action

In response to the car owners’ attempted class action suit, BMW filed a motion to dismiss the case. The New Jersey court sided with BMW when it held that the three leading named plaintiffs did not have sufficient legal standing to bring suit against BMW for warranty breach over engine defects. The court also held that plaintiffs lacked standing under a state consumer statute, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

BMW’S N54 Engine Was Heralded by the Automaker for Its Attributes

To BMW, the N54 inline-six engine has been a worldwide success since it first came on the market in 2006 in the E90 335i model. The engine is twin-turbocharged and is able to produce 330 horsepower, as well as 300 pound-feet of torque. Some industry insiders even speculate that these power statistics are on the conservative side. The purpose of the N54 engine, according to the manufacturer, was to end the lag often associated with turbo, increase performance of the car, and raise the level of fuel efficiency. BMW boasted of the attributes of its N54 engine and confidently installed it in the 1, 3, and 5 series of its sedans, the Z4 sports cars, and the X6 SUV crossover vehicles.

Some BMW Owners Refuted the Carmaker’s Enthusiasm for N54 Engine

Sadly, BMW owners have not shared the automaker’s enthusiasm and confidence in the N54 engine. Dissatisfied car owners have complained about the high-pressure fuel pump and its abnormally high rate of failure, in addition to a defective design in turbochargers that requires revision to prevent the vehicles from running at ultimate capacity. Some BMW owners are so disgruntled with the N54 engine that they have mobilized with legal assistance and started the process of mounting class action litigation against the carmaker.

BMW Owners’ Proposed Class Action Litigation

A law firm in California filed suit papers claiming the BMW N54 engine was defective, the carmaker hid defects from consumers and safety regulatory officials, and BMW should be made to issue a recall. The suit further alleged the fuel pump was susceptible to fail and when it does, the vehicle loses power and becomes lethargic and unable to consume gas. Beyond performance problems associated with these claimed defects, the car owners involved in the suit stressed serious hazards and safety concerns linked to unpredictable engine defects and failures.