Whitfield Bryson & Mason attorneys filed a class action lawsuit today in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida against Volkswagen Group of America Inc. accusing the company of knowingly selling several models of vehicles with fuse boxes that could burn or melt. According to the plaintiffs, who own a 2004 New Beetle, the alternator-cable assemblies in several Volkswagen cars - the Cabriolet, the Golf, the Jetta and the New Beetle - have a tendency to overheat, melting or burning the fuse box. The plaintiffs claim the fuse box problem is a latent defect inherent in the vehicles.
The complaint claims that Volkswagen knows about the problem, noting reports from customers on Internet forums and mechanics who say it's a common issue in the vehicles. But the company has not done anything to remedy the problem, according to the complaint. "Volkswagen actively concealed and/or failed to notify the public of the existence and nature of said defects or of the possible safety issues presented by the defects. Volkswagen has not recalled the vehicles to repair the defects; it has not offered to repair the defects to its customers free of charge; and it has not offered to reimburse owners, present or past, who incurred costs relating to system repairs," the complaint says. The alleged defect is dangerous because an overheated fuse box could potentially shut down power to the car while it's in operation or even burst into flame, the complaint alleges. The complaint does not cite any instances of these events. The proposed class, which could number in the thousands, includes any Florida resident who has purchased or leased a 2003-2005 New Beetle Cabriolet, 1999-2005 Golf IV, 1999-2005 Jetta IV or 1998-2005 New Beetle.