The History of Jeep
Jeep has been in business for nearly eighty years. Much of Jeep’s early history has been defined by its role in defeating the Axis powers during World War II. Their vehicles were light enough for soldiers to lift on the battlefield and proved strong enough to maneuver nearly any terrain. Jeeps were often used as ambulances in the war for these reasons; they were used to transport injured soldiers to hospital outposts several miles away. While Jeep’s early beginnings are rather remarkable, the brand has experienced major ups and downs in recent years.
Today, Jeep is carried by automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Presently, FCA has sought to catch up with its competitors, particularly in the electric vehicle market as EV and hybrid cars have risen in popularity. The releases of major plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius inspired Fiat Chrysler to create its own plug-in vehicle for Jeep. FCA’s parent company, Stellantis, announced during a July 2021 press conference that the auto manufacturer will develop plug-in versions of all Jeep models by the year 2025. This is a major step for FCA as the automaker previously lacked electric vehicle models in its lineup. After about ten years in development, FCA officially entered the hybrid market in North America with the release of a plug-in hybrid electric model- the Jeep Wrangler 4xe.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe “four-by-e” is the first plug-in hybrid Jeep FCA has released in the United States. It is essentially an electric hybrid version of the popular Jeep Wrangler. The automaker lauds this new Jeep as amongst the most eco-friendly vehicles in its current lineup. The plug-in hybrid vehicle boasts 21 miles of purely EV driving, 475 pounds of torque, 375 horsepower and the ability to tow up to 3,500 pounds. FCA promotes the 4xe as an off-road vehicle, distinguishing it from hybrid models offered by other auto manufacturers which are for the most part, not known for off-roading capabilities. Despite these dazzling features, some consumers say that the new hybrid Jeep Wrangler also has major defects in its electronic or computer systems that cause these vehicles to suddenly break down in the middle of use. In 2020, several Jeep Wrangler Hybrid owners and lessees filed a class action lawsuit against FCA.
2020 Jeep Class Action Lawsuit
In April 2020, Jeep owners filed a class action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, alleging that electrical or computer defects activate the check engine light which causes vehicles to suddenly stop operating while in motion. The suit includes all consumers who have purchased or leased any Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicle. Plaintiffs within the class action suit claim that the Jeep Wrangler 4xe potentially causes life-threatening malfunctions and as such, FCA should issue a recall on these vehicles.
Plaintiff Jibri-Ward Richardson’s newly leased Jeep Wrangler 4xe broke down after driving just two miles away from the dealership. The plaintiff called the dealership and brought the vehicle in for repairs. The dealership performed a software update and told the plaintiff that the car was ready to be picked up. Shortly after this initial repair, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe broke down again. The check engine light was activated, and several error messages appeared on the dashboard. The plaintiff took the vehicle in for repair to a Chrysler facility, however, about two weeks later, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe had broken down again.
Lead Plaintiff Aaron Kappler says that the dashboard display on his newly leased Jeep Wrangler 4xe told him to pull over immediately while he was driving on the highway with his family. After pulling over, the vehicle’s engine, air conditioning, and navigation systems began to break down. Plaintiff Kappler claims that he scheduled the car for warranty repairs at certified Jeep dealership. On his way to the dealership, his Jeep broke down once again and had to be towed.
The class action lawsuit alleges that Fiat Chrysler “failed and refused to notify the public the danger and risk, failed to issue bulletins, warnings, or other notifications to owners and lessees,” despite multiple reports of issues with the Jeep Wrangler 4xe to both NHTSA and FCA, US, LLC. Kappler accuses the auto manufacturer of intentionally concealing known issues with vehicle’s electronic hybrid system to avoid paying for repairs. Instead of issuing a recall or placing warnings on these vehicles, FCA continued to promote the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, calling it the “bestselling hybrid electric vehicle of the second quarter of 2021.” In December 2021, FCA issued a recall for over 3,600 Jeep Wrangler 4xe vehicles for defective odometers which can fail after 13,000 miles. To date, this has been the only major recall for this model. The issues with the odometer are unrelated to the major electrical issues the plaintiffs in the 2020 lawsuit have experienced.
Over 18,900 Jeep Wrangler 4xes were sold to consumers across the country this year. It is possible that several of these vehicles contain major flaws in their electrical and powertrain systems. The concern with these specific defects is that they are particularly dangerous because they occur while the vehicle is in use, potentially placing the driver and those around them in danger.
Common Jeep Consumer Complaints
Here’s what other owners and lessees of the new Jeep Wrangler 4xe had to say regarding the electrical issues with their vehicles:
“I was driving normally along a busy road at 40mph. Suddenly, the car stalled, and I could not accelerate. I coasted until it completely stopped in the middle of a busy road.”
-Jeep Wrangler PHEV Owner
“Car came to a sudden stop while driving and the lights beside the gear started flashing. A message on the dashboard popped up that said for me to put the car in park and then select my desired gear. Major safety concern for a car to just shut down for no reason while driving down the street.”
-Jeep Wrangler PHEV Owner
“Charging Fault Error came on as my wife was driving home when her 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe suddenly shut off and came to an immediate halt. She was barely able to prevent a major accident, which could have caused serious injury to herself and others on the road.”
-Jeep Wrangler PHEV Owner
“The car flashed a red icon and displayed a message saying power was lost and telling us to pull over safely and put the car on park. We were in the middle lane on the New Jersey Turnpike and people were driving around us at 80mph, and the car would not accelerate.”
-Jeep Wrangler PHEV Owner
I own a Jeep Wrangler 4xe and I’ve taken it to a certified dealership several times for warranty repair work because it appears to have the same electrical issues that people in this lawsuit are experiencing, should I file a settlement claim?
That is ultimately up to you, however, it is often advisable for consumers with defective vehicles to pursue lemon law claims instead of class action settlements. Class action settlements are often in an amount much less than what a consumer is entitled to with an individual lemon law claim.
I have experienced electrical issues with my 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe, but it has well over 18,000 miles, could I still qualify for a lemon law claim?
Yes! You absolutely may still be eligible. As long as you have repeat repairs performed by an authorized manufacturer facility while the vehicle was under warranty, you may still have a claim. Fortunately for consumers in California, Lemon Law is not always limited by the mileage or age of your car. Many vehicle warranties cover past the first 18 months or 18,000 miles. The only way to be sure of your eligibility is by speaking with one of our experts today. We would be more than happy to help determine if you have the grounds to file a lemon law claim.
Contact the Jeep Lemon Law Experts Today!
If you drive a new or used Jeep Wrangler 4xe and have experienced these potentially life-threatening check engine light malfunctions, you could qualify for a refund or cash compensation and the payment of your attorney’s fees.
Instead of pursuing a class settlement and splitting compensation among thousands of consumers, contact us for a free case evaluation today to see if you are eligible to file a lemon law claim.
Own or lease a defective vehicle with over 18,000 miles? Not a problem. If your repairs were made during the warranty period, you could still be eligible for a lemon law claim. Do not hesitate to see if you qualify with a quick, free, and confidential case evaluation today. The Lemon Law Experts are here to help you at every stage of the process.