From the Detroit Free Press:
GM to pay in coolant repair cases
Customers to receive up to $800 each
BY JUSTIN HYDE • FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF • March 27, 2008
WASHINGTON -- General Motors Corp. has agreed to pay as much as $800 each to millions of customers to settle lawsuits that it sold about 35 million vehicles with faulty coolant and engine parts.
The move announced by lawyers Wednesday would close one of the largest product-liability lawsuits faced by a U.S. automaker. GM declined to say how much it expected the settlement to cost, but the agreement gives payments to customers even if they bought the vehicles used.
The suits stem from GM's use of Dex-Cool, a coolant it first introduced in its vehicles in 1995 and sold in more than 35 million cars and trucks between 1995 and 2004. About 14 federal and state lawsuits seeking class-action status have been filed against GM over a variety of problems in V6 engines linked to Dex-Cool.
Thousands of customers have complained of problems ranging from small coolant leaks to complete radiator and engine failure. Court documents show that GM has received tens of thousands of repair requests linked to Dex-Cool and engine gaskets in the affected engines, and considered recalls for some models.
Under the settlement approved by a California judge last week, people who paid for Dex-Cool-related repairs on 3.1-, 3.4-, 3.8- or 4.3-liter V6 engines within seven years or 150,000 miles are eligible for some payment from GM. Repairs made within the first five years are eligible for up to $400, while sixth-year repairs could receive $100 and seventh-year repairs $50.
If the damage went beyond the engine's cooling systems -- as many customers claimed -- GM is to reimburse them up to $800. The company will also allow owners who made multiple repairs to apply for multiple repayments.
GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said the company settled the case because the lawsuits were "time consuming and expensive." He said GM was unable to estimate how many consumers might apply for payments.
As part of the settlement, GM is to pay $18 million in lawyers' fees and expenses. The settlement covers 49 states, excluding Missouri, which has an identical settlement authorized by a different court.
Owners and customers who have paid for Dex-Cool-related repairs have until Oct. 27 to submit a claim. Further details of the settlement and instructions for applying for payments are available at www.dexcoolsettlement.com
Vehicles affected in GM settlement
Here are vehicles and engines involved in the Dex-Cool settlement announced Wednesday. Not all coolant-related repairs are covered by the agreement; for a complete list, visit www.dexcoolsettlement.com
Model years 1995-2003, equipped with 3.1-liter or 3.4-liter V6 engine, manufactured before April 10, 2003, with a nylon/silicone lower intake manifold gasket:
Buick: Century, Rendezvous
Chevrolet: Impala, Lumina, Malibu, Monte Carlo, Venture
Oldsmobile: Alero, Cutlass, Silhouette
Pontiac: Aztek, Grand Am, Grand Prix, Montana, Trans Sport
Model years 1995-2004, equipped with 3.8-liter V6 engine:
Buick: LeSabre, Park Avenue, Regal, Riviera
Chevrolet: Camaro, Impala, Lumina, Monte Carlo
Oldsmobile: Eighty-Eight, Intrigue, LSS, Ninety-Eight
Pontiac: Bonneville, Firebird, Grand Prix
Model years 1995-2000, equipped with 4.3-liter V6:
Chevrolet: Blazer, Chevrolet S-10
GMC: Envoy, Jimmy, S-15
To find out more
Further details of the settlement are available at the Web site www.dexcoolsettlement.com
. To find out the vehicles involved, see 2E.