Donna Trusky of Blakely, Pennsylvania filed the lawsuit in federal court last month, claiming the GM was fully aware of a tie-rod design flaw that causes the premature wearing of the vehicle's rear tires. The defect can cause tires to wear out after just 6,000 miles of use.
GM issues a technical service bulletin for the problem in 2008, but that TSB only covered police-spec Impala models. GM says the police cars are significantly different than the retail versions of the Impala, but owners footing the bills for new tires and constant alignments aren't buying it.
However, receiving compensation from GM might be harder than first thought as the automaker is now hiding behind its 2009 bankruptcy. GM says that the Impala problem is one that rests with "Old"ť GM as the new GM, which formed following the bankruptcy, can't be responsible for design defects in vehicles produced prior to 2009. GM's bankruptcy was sponsored by $49.5 billion worth of tax payer money.
"New GM did not assume liability for old GM's design choices, conduct or alleged breaches of liability under the warranty, and its terms expressly preclude money damages," GM said in response to the suit. The suit "is trying to saddle new GM with the alleged liability and conduct of old GM."
GM sold about 423,000 Impalas during the two year period.
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