During this week’s settlement, Istanbul’s 8th Consumer Court ordered British luxury car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover Company to pay damages in a court case relating to the company’s Range Rover Vogue model SUV due to safety hazard . The Turkish court ruled that an engine safety hazard that was part of a manufacturing defect was the culprit of the car’s malfunction.
The case, settled late Tuesday, said Engin Yakut who bought a Range Rover Vogue model in 2013 for €170,000 ($191,000), but soon it broke down.
Mechanics at Borusan Oto, Land Rover's distributor in Turkey, issued a report blaming the breakdown on a manufacturing defect.
After three attempts by Yakut to get Land Rover to replace his car went unanswered, Yakut filed suit in Istanbul’s Consumer Court No:1, demanding the car be pulled from the market.
The case drew great interest on social media, with the hashtag #landrovergameover trending for four days in a row.
Yakut also appealed to the European Parliament and European Commission for all Range Rover Vogue cars on sale in Europe to be pulled from the market.
After seeing evidence of the manufacturing defect, at the hearing held on February 28th, 2019, the court ordered the company to reimburse Yakut for his purchase, with interest, but did not order the Vogue model pulled from the market.
The judge’s verdict marks an end to a 7 year long court battle that could trigger the recall of defective models. The case was first brought to court in 2013 when the owner of a brand new Range Rover vehicle filed a complaint after his SUV had engine trouble and caught fire.Before seeking legal action, the owner of the vehicle visited the distributorship for answers. The distributor stated that the SUV’s transmission and engine defects stemmed from factory production. Since the distributor’s warranty did not cover the damages the owner attempted to reach out to Jaguar Land Rover but could not get a response from the company and initiated legal action.
Cases of perpetuating testimony and defective goods replacement were opened in 2013, followed by a case of recall of defective mass produced vehicles in 2014. All legal action was consolidated into a single case in 2016. Following a series of correspondence between Turkey’s Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs and the British Embassy, Jaguar Land Rover sent legal representation to attend the Turkish court’s hearings.
After numerous investigations at Land Rover’s official distributor, a panel of 9 professors and associate professors from Yildiz and Istanbul Technical Universities produced 3 expert opinion reports citing that the Range Rover Vogue’s engine screws were not tightened enough when assembled at the factory. The report stated that when the vehicle was in motion the screws could loosen and smash the SUV’s engine and transmission, concluding this was a factory defect.
The owner promptly applied to the European Consumer Organisation and several other European Union regulatory bodies asking for the ‘CE (European Conformity)’ marking to be removed from the SUV and for an examination and investigation to be launched into Jaguar Land Rover. The application specifically demanded the recall of all Range Rover Vogue models citing fatal risk to consumers as a result of a factory defect.
Turkish legal experts have stated that the defect is a nationwide problem and should result in a recall of the model. Experts have also stated that in accordance with International Private and Procedural Law, compensation decisions passed down by Turkish courts must be recognised by British Consumer Courts and in the Anglo-American legal system this could open the door for punitive damages to be paid out by the British car manufacturer, citing a 1981 Ford Pinto case as precedent.
This landmark court decision marks one of the few times that an auto manufacturing giant has lost a manufacturing defect case. The owner of the vehicle that triggered this legal saga Mr. Engin Yakut summarized his ordeal by saying, ‘Land Rover, Game Over.’
To reach Court papers, documents, and photos of the incident
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