When Nissan released its GT-R, buyers soon discovered that using the vehicle's launch-control feature led to a blown transmission and voided warranty. One owner started a class-action lawsuit and prevailed, but the rest may get screwed. Here's the official settlement.
The GT-R transmission issue was discovered in late 2008. Drivers were turning off the standard Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC, or Nissan's version of electronic stability control) to activate a "launch control" feature that allowed for quick off-the-line starts. The feature, which was designed into the car, often resulted in a broken gearbox and a warranty that Nissan refused to honor — the company considered turning VDC off to be necessary only when trapped in mud or snow. If you tried to deny your Nissan dealer access to your vehicle's data-recording black box, your warranty would still be voided.
A class action lawsuit resulted; although Nissan admitted no wrongdoing or design problems (or ever having denied warranty claims), the company settled it by agreeing to give qualifying owners a transmission programming upgrade and a $75 coupon for service at a factory-authorized dealer. It also agreed to pay the case's original plaintiff $31,500 to cover the cost of the replacement transmission he purchased, as well as legal fees and $5,000 for pursuing the action.
This is great news for the guy who originally sued and good news for anyone who has yet to destroy their GT-R's transmission. If you're one of the unlucky individuals who blew up a gearbox that wasn't covered under warranty, your options are limited to sucking it up or sending in a letter excluding yourself and suing on your own. If you do nothing, you're de facto included.
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Owners will soon start receiving this letter, our copy of which was obtained by DragTimes, and can choose to accept the settlement, appeal it, or exclude themselves from it. (Hat tip to Fiske!)