ST. LOUIS-Anti-lock brake system problems on Chrysler Corp. vehicles-the target of a government investigation since last year-have spurred a class action lawsuit. Filed in St. Louis Circuit Court, the suit charges the automaker and its brake supplier with knowingly selling vehicles with defective ABS systems. According to an Associated Press story in Automotive News, the lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of all Missouri owners of Chrysler trucks, cars and minivans equipped with anti-lock brake systems manufactured from 1991-95.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating Chrysler's ABS for more than a year. The federal agency has logged more than 2,000 complaints of brake problems.
Chrysler denies that its Bendix 10 brake systems are defective, but it has acknowledged there have been failures that are difficult to diagnose.
An attorney for Chrysler said the company would not comment on the lawsuit.
Government records show many cases in which partial or complete brake failure has occurred on Chrysler ABS-equipped vehicles. But often the failures are intermittent and cannot be diagnosed by mechanics, according to consumers.
The lawsuit, which identifies only one plaintiff, Dennis Beam, was filed by the Clayton, Mo., law firm of Danis, Cooper, Cavanagh & Hartweger.
An attorney with the firm told the Associated Press that Mr. Beam's 1991 Dodge Caravan has several ABS-related braking problems. Sometimes the pedal goes to the floor with no braking action; at other times the pedal is stiff and the brakes fail to activate.
Also named in the suit is AlliedSignal Corp., manufacturer of the Bendix 10, and the auto dealership that sold the minivan.
The suit charges Chrysler and AlliedSignal knew since 1992 the Bendix 10 was prone to failure, but did not warn consumers or notify the government.