Land Rover, currently owned by Indian automaker Tata Motors, has changed hands many times since its inception in 1948. The Wilks brothers designed the first Land Rover, using the American-made Jeep as inspiration that one of the brothers used on his farm in England. The vehicle was produced by Rover Company and expanded quickly into use in the military, police force, and off road travel industry. At first, the steering wheel was in the middle of the dashboard, and the cars were also all painted various shades of green due to the use of army surplus paint.
Land Rovers became extremely popular in England and known for their ability to withstand harsh conditions. The Rover Company merged with Leyland Motors in 1967 and again with the British Motor Corporation a year later. In 1970, they produced the Range Rover, a more comfortable and luxurious version of the Land Rover. In 1987, Land Rover finally made it to the United States.
Land Rover was eventually bought by BMW in 1994, and then by Ford Motor Company in 2000. Over the years, the brand has undergone significant changes, merging with Jaguar Motors to become Jaguar Land Rover. In 2008, the brand was acquired by Tata Motors, however the cars will continue to use Ford engines until 2019. They currently manufacture 6 models of Land Rovers and Range Rovers for sale in the US.
Land Rover Defects and Recalls
This section by no means represents a comprehensive list of manufacturing and operating malfunctions, and it is advisable to check for complete information on any recalls that may apply to your vehicle in order to quickly and safely address them. The following information, however, compiles some of the past and current common issues that Land Rovers owners may experience.
Unintended Transmission Shift
In September 2016, Land Rover recalled 22,657 SUVs including the 2015 Discovery Sport and 2014-2015 Range Rover Evoque for a transmission issue which causes the vehicle to shift into neutral without warning or the depression of the brake. The defect is caused by the transmission sensor cluster. The 26-way connector on the harness assembly was not crimped properly, and the defect was not caught during assembly because the vehicle was tested using manual settings.
The transmission in the Land Rover in particular was not linked to any injuries, but Land Rover is only one brand of many that used the particular transmission from a company called ZF North America. ZF was asked to recall 505,000 of the vehicles that had installed their 9HP nine-speed automatic transmissions, including brands like Acura, Jeep, Chrysler, Fiat, and Honda in addition to Land Rover. The defect has led to 700 complaints and reports of 68 injuries and 266 crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This recall came after Chrysler recalled over a million vehicles for issues with a 8HP eight-speed automatic shifter manufactured by ZF.
Various Land Rover vehicles were also involved in a huge series of recalls this year which encompassed 17 automakers who installed Takata airbags inflators in their vehicles. Takata did not implement a particular drying agent or “desiccant” in the production of their airbags, which caused a degradation of the propellant. Over time, this can cause unintended and unsafe airbag explosion which can send shards of plastic shrapnel into the driver's face while the car is in operation.
The airbags have been linked to 13 deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide. Land Rover is recalling 34,000 2007-2011 Range Rovers in four phases to address the airbag danger because it is not equipped to address all vehicles at once. They are starting the recall with vehicles that are owned in hot or humid states, because this increases the chance of airbag explosion.
Doors Falling Off
Land Rover recalled 65,000 vehicles in July of 2015 when they received multiple customer reports in which a door had spontaneously unlatched and opened while the vehicle was in operation. The defect stems from a flaw with the software controlling the car's keyless entry feature. No injuries or crashes have been reported associated with the issue, and the vehicles affected include Range Rover models made between July 26, 2012, to March 9, 2015, and Range Rover Sport models made between Feb. 18, 2013, to March 5, 2015. Dealerships will update the software to remedy the problem.
Passenger Airbag Misclassification
Land Rover owners experienced another potentially dangerous software malfunction in early 2015. The company recalled 60,000 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models manufactured between 2012 and 2015 due to a software issue that incorrectly registered adults in the passenger seat as children and therefore disengaged the airbag deployment function so that they may not open in the event of a crash. The dealership will update the software for this issue and no injuries have been linked to this recurring software glitch.
Battery Failure Lawsuit
In August of 2015, Land Rover was hit with a $5 million class action lawsuit concerning various models of the Land Rover L2 that have been produced since 2007 for an alleged electrical issue which causes the battery to drain unreasonably quickly, even when the car is completely off. This prevents the car from starting. The lead plaintiff says that replacing the battery will not solve the underlying problem because it will continue to drain and fail again. She also asserts that Land Rover has known about the issue for an extended period and has done nothing to address the problem or inform their customers.
A year later, a US district judge dismissed certain aspects of the lawsuit, such as violations of fraud laws and breach of good faith, but upheld the claims for breach of express and implied warranty. The lawsuit is ongoing.
Family of Paralyzed Colorado Teen Sues Land Rover
In June of 2014, Mackenzie Langley was a passenger in a 2013 Land Rover LR2 HSE when the vehicle crashed and she became permanently paralyzed and disfigured. Although she was wearing a seatbelt, she was ejected from the vehicle and suffered severe injuries including skull fractures, multiple spinal cord fractures, and traumatic brain injury, among others.
Her family is suing the maker of the car for an estimated $75,000 because they say it was “unfit, unsafe and unreasonably dangerous when used as intended.” In particular, the lawsuit alleges defects in the vehicle's roof which made it collapse during the rollover in a way that the automaker should have tested and foreseen.
Representation for Colorado Personal Injury Victims
As technology increases, automakers try to implement cutting edge features and high end software. While these features can make life easier and increase the value of a car, the most important aspect of any vehicle must always be its safety and reliability. Flash and style are secondary to vital lifesaving technology. Unfortunately, sometimes automakers design small, novel technological features which can malfunction catastrophically, undermining basic safety features. If you or a loved one are coping with the consequences of an automaker's poor design, get someone on your side who can fight to get you the compensation that you deserve for your time, expense, and/or injuries. Call Jeremy Rosenthal today at (303) 853-2223 or contact him online to set up your free case consultation.