Another class-action lawsuit over the seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette made it to federal court, but this one isn’t about its performance on track. It’s, instead, over something that can affect owners anywhere—certain C7 rims, the lawsuit claims, are prone to cracking and bending at “extremely low mileages.”
Perhaps most importantly, though, the lawsuit also claims they’re also prone to not falling under General Motors’ warranty.
The April 30 filing, found and written about by Car Complaints, is a class-action complaint on behalf of anyone in the U.S. who bought or leased any 2015 or newer Corvette Z06 models, as well as anyone with 2017 or newer Grand Sport models. The lawsuit claims General Motors knew of “widespread” problems with the rims, has denied the issue, and is “systematically denying coverage” of the wheels under their three-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranties.
GM has yet to file a response in court, according to online records, but Jalopnik has reached out to the company for comment on the lawsuit and any response it may have to the allegations. We’ll update this story if we hear back.
The lawsuit was filed against GM by Anthony Nardizzi, who claims he leased a new 2018 Corvette from Santa Paula Chevrolet in California in June 2018. What happened next, the lawsuit says, wasn’t part of the plan:
Upon purchasing the vehicle from the dealership, Mr. Nardizzi had the vehicle brought directly to Impression Auto Salon. CalChrome, a third-party wheel finisher, picked up the rims to have them coated. While inspecting the vehicle, CalChrome took a video showing that the rims were bent.
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Nardizzi, the lawsuit says, replaced the wheels for $7,500 out of pocket. When he complained to the dealership and asked for the wheels to be covered in its bumper-to-bumper warranty, the lawsuit claims the dealership said the wheels were “warped because of Mr. Nardizzi’s driving and that GM would not cover any portion of the repair.” When he contacted GM directly, it says, GM agreed to cover $1,200 of the $7,500 cost.
But for most, the lawsuit claims GM’s been blaming the defect on “potholes or other driver error” despite alleged internal data on the problem. The suit claims GM knew about the issue even before Nardizzi’s lease, citing numerous forum posts, complaints to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and a late-2018 Car and Driver story about a 2017 Corvette Grand Sport in their long-term fleet that had three bent wheels at around 6,500 miles.
Two were fixed, the story said, but one had to be completely replaced for a crack. Car and Driver also said their wheels weren’t covered under warranty, costing $1,119 for repairs.
By not covering the repairs, the lawsuit alleges GM’s breaching its bumper-to-bumper warranty—citing a line that GM agrees to cover any vehicle defect aside from “slight noise, vibrations, or other normal characteristics of the vehicle due to materials or workmanship occurring during the warranty period.”
The lawsuit says that had Nardizzi known about the defect, as it claims GM did, he either wouldn’t have bought the car or would’ve paid less. From the lawsuit:
Although GM was sufficiently aware of the Rim Defect from preproduction testing, design failure mode analysis, calls to its customer service hotline, and customer complaints made to dealers, this knowledge and information was exclusively in the possession of GM and its network of dealers and, therefore, unavailable to consumers. [...]
GM’s omissions were material to Plaintiff Nardizzi. Had GM disclosed its knowledge of the Rim Defect before he purchased his Corvette, Plaintiff Nardizzi would have seen and been aware of the disclosures.
In addition to the monetary concerns, the lawsuit mentions the potential safety issues with defective wheels—one NHTSA complaint, it says, involved an owner who noticed a vibration at highway speeds.
“Took the vehicle into the dealer and was told that the wheel was bent,” the lawsuit quotes the complaint as saying. “Service manager stated that this was happening to many Corvettes and was due to the stiffness of the tire and the weakness of the factory wheel. GM has denied a claim under warranty.”
Nardizzi’s requesting a jury trial, and asking for the court to determine that GM is financially responsible for notifying any affected owners about the defect, a voluntary recall, an amount of damages for Nardizzi and other affected owners to be proven at trial, the costs of attorney fees, and any applicable interest.
Until that happens—if that happens—it sounds like most owners will just have to pay out of pocket for their repairs.
Nardizzi’s complaint is embedded below in full: