A lawsuit claims GM pulled “Bait and Switch” on Z06 buyers

The writing has been on the wall for some time now for the C7 Corvette Z06 and its overheating/heat soak issues. Finally, a class-action lawsuit has been brought to GM and the law firm filling is encouraging owners to join in. The C7  Z06 was released to the public a little to soon and has some serious overheating issues that causes the car to go into limp mode. This is a condition where the car’s computer dials back the power if temperatures reach a level past what is considered normal. Now, this strategy exists to save vital engine components, but in no way should activate this early with Z06 owners and journalists reporting that after just 15 minutes of track use, the Corvette was rendered useless. Not exactly what a $100k track focused sports car should do.

The Z06 uses a roots style supercharger, which replaces the intake manifold and sits directly on top of the engine. These systems produce a lot of heat and are tough to manage. For this reason, we don’t see any of the naturally aspirated Corvettes or the Z06 from previous generations suffering with the same issue. Furthermore, many other automakers use a similar system and do not have as many issues. Talk to Cobra Mustang owners or Hellcat owners and, although heat soak and high intake air temperature is always a concern, it rarely leaves these cars useless when used as designed.

The suit filed by Hagens Berman claims the Z06 can go into limp mode not only on the race track but also on public roads. They are saying this endangers not only the the driver and fellow motorists but also causes damage to the engine as things begin to warp with higher than normal temperature.

This issue began way back when the car was being tested by Motor Trend in their “Best driver’s car” competition. The 2015 Z06 was removed from the contest early on after going into the limp mode that drastically reduced its power. GM claimed the car malfunctioned due to a loose wiring harness that caused the intercooler to not work properly. The damage to the car’s image was already done at that point and after many more reports of heat soak related issues on other Z06 Corvettes, it was hard to believe their explanation.

To strengthen the firm’s case even more, GM issued several upgrades to the cooling system on the 2017 Z06 and by doing so, practically admitted there was a problem with the previous setup. Steve Berman, the managing partner of the firm, had this to say according to Jalopnik:

“We believe we’ve found GM to be guilty of a classic bait and switch – one that cost thousands of consumers dearly, up to $120,000, and broke state consumer protection laws. GM enticed race enthusiasts with bells and whistles, promising a car that could maintain safe speeds and power when tracked, but we believe what it sold them was far from what it promised. This defect not only damages the Z06 engine, but endangers drivers.

The defect in question markedly limits the car’s performance – the sole reason these hotrod enthusiasts bought the Corvette Z06 in the first place. If they’d known of this defect at the time of purchase, they likely wouldn’t have spent six figures on the Z06. “

This suit effects more than 30,000 Z06 Corvettes from 2015 to 2017 even with the cooling upgrades the 2017 models were given. It would make sense for GM to simply perform the 2017 upgrades to the effected cars and be done with it. Those upgrades are a redesigned hood, a redesigned top cover to the superchargers, modified intercooler geometry and manual cars get an additional horizontal cooler that can reduce coolant temperature by 18 degrees.
It’s worth noting that GM claims only 5% of the cars were effected but what does that mean? It likely just means that only about 5% of Z06 owners took their car on a track and pushed the car like it was designed to do. If you want to read exactly what’s in the Lawsuit click here.

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