This is the second class-action lawsuit.
General Motors is facing a second class-action suit over cracked wheels, only this time it's been filed by another group of owners in another state.
According to the Detroit Free Press, 18 owners of C7 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and Corvette Grand Sport models are now part of a consolidated class-action lawsuit filed in a Michigan court against GM and is seeking millions of dollars in reimbursements. The alleged problem is the wheels on 2015-2019 Z06s and Grand Sports that are "prone to deforming and cracking, without impact damage" due to materials that were "cast, rather than forged … of insufficient strength … and insufficient quality, to withstand the torque and power input from the drivetrain."
In addition, the suit states the Corvettes are no longer safe to drive because the broken rims could puncture the tires. Having a blowout at any speed is very problematic. If this lawsuit sounds familiar to you then that's because last April, a similar class-action suit was filed in California on behalf of C7 owners. They claimed the exact same wheel problems and further stated Chevrolet had been denying their cracked wheel claims and refused to cover repair costs despite many of the vehicles still being covered under warranty. GM, however, responded to that lawsuit by stating the wheels are not defective. Instead, the cracks are caused by potholes.
So far, GM has refused to comment on this latest legal battle, only pointing out there have been zero safety recalls for the 2015-2019 Corvettes. GM is apparently still maintaining that any wheel damage is due to normal wear and tear. But there could be some hope for owners this second time around.
The Michigan lawsuit names a potentially powerful ally: Car and Driver magazine. The publication's review of a 2017 Corvette Grand Sport claimed it had to replace or repair six damaged wheels over a 40,000-mile test period. The total cost came to just over $4,000. But how can this lawsuit potentially add up to tens of millions of dollars, assuming there's a judgment for the plaintiffs? Just do the math.
A total of 17,988 Corvettes were sold in 2019, although just a quarter of them (4,500 units) were Z06s and Grand Sports. Figure roughly $4k per vehicle to replace all four rims. This amounts to $18 million in owner reimbursements - per model year. Despite claims from top GM officials, specifically chief Corvette engineer Tadge Juechter, that potholes are the real culprit, owners remain unconvinced. Many claim they only drove their Vettes in good weather on good road surfaces and still encountered bent and/or cracked rims.
"It just seemed unreasonable to me that this was occurring. I babied the car," one owner said. Will GM step and do the right thing? Owners certainly hope so.