New Jersey Lawsuit Alleges ‘Defective’ Windshields on Jeep Wranglers, Gladiators

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the latest vehicle manufacturer to be hit with allegations of defective windshields on select models. Three plaintiffs from as many different states now allege the company’s 2016-present Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators contain defects that leave windshields prone to cracking, fracturing or chipping.

Plaintiffs Jacob Reinkraut, Steve Smith and Matthew Chapman allege in their New Jersey District Court complaint that the vehicles in question are designed and manufactured “with one or more” design and manufacturing defects. They say the alleged defects make the vehicles’ windshields “extremely prone to cracking, fracturing or chipping.”

The plaintiffs argue that windshield damage occurs in circumstances where a non-defective windshield would experience no issues. The plaintiffs cite the use of the defroster and “small pebbles” as examples.

Smith writes in the complaint that he purchased a new 2021 Jeep Wrangler in November 2021 before experiencing issues in the fall of 2022. He says he pulled the vehicle from the garage and turned the engine off while chatting with a neighbor in 75-degree weather. Smith says his windshield was cracked upon reentering the vehicle. Additionally, in the spring of 2023, Smith alleges that a gnat caused a chip to appear in his replacement windshield, necessitating a repair.

FCA is also accused of concealing the defect from consumers while continuing to sell and market Wranglers and Gladiators. The plaintiffs argue the manufacturer did so even though it knew, “or was reckless in not knowing,” that the alleged defect was present.

However, based on an “extensive number” of customer complaints, field investigations, communications with dealerships and more, the plaintiffs say FCA would have known of not only the alleged issue but the safety risks it posed.

Additionally, the complaint notes windshields may fail shortly after the expiration of the express warranty and that warranty coverage may be denied based on applicable exclusions. Furthermore, the plaintiffs call Jeep’s written warranty “procedurally and substantively unconscionable” as it failed to inform consumers of the alleged defect while also containing “grossly inadequate” warranty time limits. “Environmental factors” are also excluded within the warranty, according to the complaint.

“FCA’s basic limited warranty lasts for 36 months from the date it begins or 36,000 miles on the odometer, whichever occurs first,” the plaintiffs write in their complaint. “However, FCA limits the warranty on the windshield to only 12 months or 12,000 miles.”

The plaintiffs levy approximately 10 charges against FCA, including common law fraud, fraudulent concealment, breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, unjust enrichment and more. The plaintiffs demand a jury trial. FCA has yet to file a response with the court, as the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit earlier this week on Tuesday, May 23.

FCA is not alone in facing allegations of defective windshields on certain models, joining Kia and Jaguar Land Rover North America. On a separate but still glass-related note, a number of vehicle manufacturers are also being sued with respect to allegations of defective panoramic sunroofs. Again, the plaintiffs in those cases allege manufacturing defects that leave sunroofs prone to breaking or shattering. Vehicle manufacturers facing those lawsuits include Mercedes, Toyota and Nissan.

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1 Response to New Jersey Lawsuit Alleges ‘Defective’ Windshields on Jeep Wranglers, Gladiators

  1. I have been calling the corporate Chrysler Jeep office since March of this year, as I have had 6 windshields spontaneously crack in the same area of the windshield every time. I have taken my Gladiator to a repair shop and got an estimate of what they recommend needs to be done to stop the windshields from spontaneously cracking. They stated the frame of the Gladiator needed to be replaced. A new frame to the windshield needs to be installed and paint matched to my truck, along with a new windshield installed. They stated that there has to be a flaw in the frame, that keeps causing the windshield to spontaneously crack. In the last 2 years I have replaced the windshield 6 times and I need another new windshield as it cracked spontaneously as I and my husband got into the truck, it cracked up from the frame a couple inches and then went across to the left and went back down to the frame. The crack is a loop, from around the center of the frame if goes up a couple inches and goes either left or right and then goes back to the bottom of the frame again. How do we get involved in the lawsuit? I have been trying since March 2023 to get my windshield replaced and the frame fixed to be sure I do not have the same problems.

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