This is the car world’s version of #BendGate.
If you thought the era of General Motors quality complaints would end after the $2.5 billion penalty the automaker paid for covering up faulty ignition switches, then you were wrong. At least that’s the case if a very pissed off group of Corvette owners is right about another act of negligence in GM’s quality control department. A report by Car Complaints claims that the owner of a leased 2018 Corvette has sued GM after he picked the car up from a dealership and drove it straight to a third-party company called CalChrome to have the wheels finished. After dropping the ‘Vette off, CalChrome recoded a video showing that two of the car’s wheels were bent. Replacing the pair cost the owner, Anthony Nardizzi, $7,500, which both the dealership and GM refused to cover as part of the Chevy’s 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.
GM told Nardizzi that the bent wheels were his fault for the way he was driving, but eventually agreed to chip in $1,200 to help pay the cost of the new wheels. The proposed class action lawsuit goes on to claim that GM is violating its own warranty by not acknowledging that the wheels of some 2015 to present Corvette Z06s and 2017 to present Corvette Grand Sports have a tendency to bend or even crack, and is instead blaming customers for damaging the wheels due to their style of driving. That places the cost of replacing the wheels squarely on the customers. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that a bent or cracked wheel is not just expensive, it's dangerous because it can cause the tire to be punctured. The risk is compounded on a sports car like the Corvette, which is built to be driven both on the road and on the track. In the worst-case scenario, a wheel full of stress fractures could crack on a track day during a high-speed maneuver and cause an owner to crash.
The lawsuit even references issues that Car and Driver had with its long-term Corvette Grand Sport. "The problem is widespread,” reads Nardizzi’s complaint. "In fact, during Car & Driver magazine’s long-term review of a 2017 Chevrolet Corvette GS, three of its wheels bent, and one of them cracked. The repairs and replacement cost $1,119, which GM refused to cover under warranty.” Car Complaints goes on to list 17 complaints that Corvette owners have filed with the NHTSA over the matter, with one owner of a 2017 Grand Sport with 930 miles on it complaining that his Corvette had to have all four wheels replaced because they were bent. Given that Nardizzi’s complaint regards a Corvette that got its wheels damaged during its first drive off the dealership lot, it sounds like there’s cause for an investigation. We’ll keep you updated on the story, especially because your humble writer just took on a 2019 Corvette Grand Sport press loan hours before writing this story. Send your well-wishes this way.