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Nissan Maxima



  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    Perhaps it is easy for those who don't own 02-03 Maximas to dismiss the gravity of the lawsuit against Nissan. Put yourself in the position of those anguish owners not knowing when their HIDs could get stolen (again) and the time and money it would cost to get their cars fixed.

    It would have costed Nissan no more than $100 to put stronger brackets around the HIDs to make them more secure, and I am quite certain that all Max owners would have been willing to spend the extra $100 and enjoy those bright xenons. Nissan was pennywise and pound foolish in cheapening on the HID design, and now it has to bear the wrath of the angry owners and the state that is trying to enforce consumer protection laws.

    Giving Nissan the benefit of doubt that it did not know about the ease of theft of the HIDs when it designed these headlights, but once it knew about the problem, it should have taken immediate remedial action. The fact that it took Nissan more than a year, while profiting from the sale of replacement HIDs, could be the straw that broke the camel's back.

    It is better to fess up about a mistake early when caught than to deny the mistake and try to evade responsibility. We all witness this in the recent ImClone stock sale saga and the not too distant past Monica Lewinsky saga. History has a way of repeating itself.
  • lichtronimolichtronimo Posts: 212
    for someone illegally removing parts from someone's private property? These headlights are no different than removing MB or Cadillac ornaments or steeling wheels/tires.

    I agree from a customer relations standpoint that whatever Nissan could do to secure the part would be in their favor. But, legal liability? No.
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    ive got to agree with lichtronimo on this one. should you sue cadillac or mercedes because their emblems cost $250? what about suing microsoft because a virus can get into windows? i know! lets sue edmunds because i couldnt negotiate all the way down to TMV! edmunds should pay the difference! (kidding, hosts) ;-)

    my point is this...

    frivolous lawsuits like this only hurt the people that work for the company and their consumers. temporary relief for those who lost $500 or so is nice, but if nissan has to pay alot of money, who do you think ends up with the burden?

    "...I am quite certain that all Max owners would have been willing to spend the extra $100..."

    well, at least you got part of that right. do i want to pay more money because someone parked in a bad neighborhood? didnt lock their doors? (remember, to get the lighs out, you have to open the hood first.) no. sorry, but not my problem.
  • andmoonandmoon Posts: 320
    Nissan installed a 'protection' kit consisting of etching and a reinforcement bar I can't see anywhere and stickers (I can see) warning of the enhanced protection.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    I am quite confident that the NJ attorney general must have performed its legal research before commencing the suit against Nissan. So, it is highly unlikely that the suit is without any merit or, in Bowke's words, "frivolous."

    To compare the theft of HIDs to car emblems is a comparison of apples and oranges. One must compare the ease of theft of HIDs designed and made by the various car manufacturers in order to make a reasoned judgment as to whether the ones made by Nissan (in the Maximas) are on par with industry standards. If not, and if Nissan knew or should have known about the (alleged) defective design, Nissan is liable even though there are intervening events (i.e. HID thefts by scumbags). Then, it becomes a matter of foreseeability as to how likely thefts will occur due to the design.

    I don't believe (and refuse to accept)that Nissan purposely designed defective HIDs in order to profit from sale of replacement HIDs. Thus, any judgment against Nissan should not contain punitive damages. However, if Nissan is negligent in the design, the laws of product liability will come into play.

    I despise lawsuits that are frivolous (such as blaming McDonalds for ones obesity when one chows down tons of burgers and fries daily), but I am an advocate of consumer protection laws. Manufacturers should make safe and reliable products, and consumers should not be put at risk because the company wants to cut corners.

    The market will weed out weak performers and incompetent companies. I hope and pray that Nissan is not one of them because I have been a Nissan fan (the Max in particular) for more than 12 years!!
  • lichtronimolichtronimo Posts: 212
    Did the headlight regularly fall out of the car in regular use? No? Then how was Nissan negligent?
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    HIDs don't have to fall out of the car to qualify for negligent design. Among other things, failure to meet reasonable industry norms or standards in the design of HIDs to deter thefts may qualify. For example, if other manufacturers use sturdy steel brackets and you use flimsy plastic ones in order to cut corners, and as a result, your HIDs are more prone to theft, you are negligent, and you may be liable for damages sustained by customers who bought your defective HIDs.
  • kenm8kenm8 Posts: 71
    The NJ lawsuit is ridiculous. It is just as ridiculous as if Nissan sued the state of NJ on behalf of its customers for not having adequate law enforcement, a good school system that teaches good values (Thou shall not steal?) and a court system that prosecutes thieves to the fullest extent of the law.

    Has NJ previously sued the manufacturer of an auto brand whose owner had his/her wheels/tires stolen off their cars? Would these suits have contended that the manufacturer should have provided one or more wheel locks on lugs for all four wheels on a car? Or that the lug nuts should have been designed so that only a licensed auto dealer, repair shop or tire dealer can remove a tire with special licensed tools (presumably not available to thieves?)?

    Nissan does have a moral, not legal, obligation to update their designs when situations such as HID are divulged to them. The marketplace will reward those manufacturers who are sensitive to their customers' needs and quickly respond to these needs. Those manufacturers who do not, will be punished in the marketplace accordingly.
  • andmoonandmoon Posts: 320
    Never mind HIDs. Nissan wouldn't replace the centercap of one of my wheels that fell off under waranty...not too bad until you find out the tiny plactic thing costs $33.
  • lichtronimolichtronimo Posts: 212
    You should sue!
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I fully agree with kenm8 on this one: this is not a "legal" issue, it's at best a customer service one that should be dealt with in the marketplace.

    kennyg5: I appreciate your distinction between Nissan HID headlights and McDonald's burgers. But, unfortunately, it's becoming a distinction without a difference in today's overzealous trial attorney "sue everyone" atmoshphere. Example: I live in DC, as a law abiding citizen I'm not allowed to own a gun, DC has more gun related murders than all but a few other cities, 80% of the convicted murderers had previous handgun violations but were somehow let off by the liberal judicial system, and the latest answer: sue Smith & Wesson for a gun made and sold legally in Wisconsin that made it's way illegally into DC. Where does this BS end?

    I'm sure if I owned a Maxima that had its headlights stolen, I'd be pissed. Especially so if, after the fact of knowing about it, Nissan offered no free fix. But I think the recourse of being able to buy an Acura the next time around is preferable to lining the pockets of lawyers who would like to use this as a case study for 10 other "defective" lawsuits, while the bastards that stole the headlights probably get a slap on the wrist.
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    you go, pal! my thoughts were almost identical. if this lawsuit goes through, does it mean that i can sue louisville, KY for someone breaking into my house? or do i just sue the builders? or both? sounds like a financial windfall coming for me soon! ;-)
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    Which reminds me… Back in '97 someone broke into my M3 in midtown Manhattan, and stole the spare tire (and wheel) from the trunk. It cost me $800 to replace. WAIT! Let me go and file a lawsuit against BMW! Once you break into the car the spare is so easy to steal!

    Seriously, though, this lawsuit against Nissan is totally ridiculous.
  • mikef208mikef208 Posts: 69
    WEll I called my local nissan dealer about my car. I told them it is showing 3 codes. 0304-knock sensor, 0701-cylinder misfire, 0903-EVAP Canister vent control valve. She said it was quite likely that the EVAP Canister vent control valve being broken could quite possiblly be giving the other 2 codes falsey. She said they will fix that part and then reset the ECU and let me drive it for a couple trips to see if anything else trips the 2 trip thing in the ECU.

    That sounds fine to me except that is the one part not covered by my warranty. But when i was researching this part I found on the MSN autos page that the EVAP thing is pretty common, but they say parts and labor on it is more like 112.00. AM I getting ripped off?
  • rampedramped Posts: 358
    You just bought this car. Didn't the dealer offer any sort of short term warranty, something like 30 days or 1,000 miles? Seems like you shouldn't have to pay for repairs so soon.
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    how much the part is, but labor is usually $75-$100 an hour. i dont think its a rip off.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    I would like to apologize to everyone, including our esteemed host Pat, for dwelling on this subject. However, because the HID theft issue is raised and debated with much fervor, and such debate appears to be the primary issue that keeps this thread alive, I venture ahead, as follows:

    First, I own an 03 Max, but my HIDs have never been stolen (knock on wood) because I have garages in my house to keep my cars safe, and when I go out at night, I usually take my wife's older 97 Max or park my 03 Max in attended lots. Moreover, I live in New York, so the NJ suit against Nissan has no impact on me nor would it benefit me an iota. Further, I am not a trial lawyer representing the personal injury plaintiff bar, so I do not have an agenda nor any vested interest in this matter.

    Second, Habitat seems to take the position that because the overzealous trial lawyers may benefit from this suit (as opposed to the consumers), Nissan should not be liable. Like you Habitat, I am no friend of money-grabbing trial lawyers whose primary interest may be to line their own pockets. But this suit is initiated by the NJ AG, the govt, not some greedy individual representing disgruntled clients. In this case, the state, on behalf of its citizen, is suing Nissan.

    Third, the HIDs that are stolen cost an average owner about $1500 (insurance deductible and rental car etc.) and the remaining half is picked up by the insurance companies. Has anyone ever thought about who may be the real plaintiff in this case? Could it be the powerful insurance companies that hold a strong political clout. Just a thought, but there is nothing wrong with that ... I guess (shamelessly copied from Seinfeld).

    Fourth, Habitat believes this is not a legal issue and that Nissan has no legal liability. Habitat, could it be you that once raised the issue about Pinto's exploding gas tank? Well, could Ford argue that but for that stupid drunk driver that rear ended you, you would not have been injured or died, and thus Ford has no liabilty for the gas tank design. Do you buy that argument? Compare that with the argument that Nissan is not liable because the [non-permissible content removed] thief took your HIDs. Although this is a stark analogy, my point is that the law is not always black and white, and it has a lot of gray areas.

    So, where do we draw the line on liabilty? I humbly submit that if a manufacturer complies with industry or govt standards, that should insulate it from liability, in most instances. In the event there are no such standards (which is unlikely), I will use a reasonable man's approach, which is, what a prudent manufacturer or person will do in designing a product, in light of the cost of the product. For HIDs that cost $2000 a pair vs. the plastic piece that cost Andmoon $33 or the hood ornament mentioned by Bowke, I would make damn sure that the HIDs are designed much better so as to deter theft.

    Lastly, I fully agree that the penal system in this country is too laxed and many criminals usually get a slap on the wrist, if at all. Remember the American kid who trashed someone's car in Singapore and some congressman argued that Singapore's punishment (whacking the butt with a cane) is cruel and unusual? Give me a break. Spare a cane, spoil a kid. Need I say further ...

    I can go on, but I better stop before Pat tells me that she will exercise her veto power, whether it be line-item or plenary :-)
  • aggiedogaggiedog Posts: 238
    Well written. I would go even further on the insurance angle. It's really a racket. If you lower your deductables, your premiums increase. The affected party with stolen HID's, hood ornaments, or whatever ends up paying one way or another.
  • mikef208mikef208 Posts: 69
    Yeah they offered a 30 day 1,000 miles powertrain warranty, which doesn't cover this part. I also got an extended warranty with the car. Had the problem actually been the knock sensor or say something with the ignition coils or whatever, it would have been covered by the warranty, but unfortunately this part was not covered.

    I mean this is basically the first car I have really bought on my own what is the standard warranty from a dealer, would it normally cover something like the EVAP Canister vent control valve?

    I ended up getting it done for about 250.00 or so after they got the right part numbers and whatnot. Probablly could have gotten it cheaper, but I wanted to be sure it was done right and get some other stuff checked, so I went to nissan. They told me that it was quite possible that the EVAP thing was causing the knock sensor and cylinder misfire codes. They changed it out and reset the light and rechecked the codes and nothing popped up. Then they drove it out of the service area and I drove it home. Not sure if that would be enough for any problems to surface, since I know it takes the problem on 2 consecutive trips for it to trip the light. I guess I will probablly know tomorrow.
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    a good argument. another point would be regarding the NJ AG. with the rash of judges in the country being activists these days, this "nader-ist" action is no different. this is a government official trying to change precedent law. nothing more, IMHO.

    the only hole in your analogy with the pinto would be that the pinto was dangerous to the lives of everyone nearby. thieves are mostly non-violent, and will run away if confronted, so i dont see the correlation. also, keeping automobile parts in the question, i had a ford tempo that ran out of gas on the highway going through detroit (yes, i was scared spitless). i returned with gasoline the next morning and found the window broken, the hood unlatched, and the distributor gone. should i sue ford because the window wasnt strong enough? did they not use thick enough glass?
    the fact is, that at junkyards, the distributor for a ford 2.3L engine used to be quite valuable. a new one was over $300 retail. i COULD make the same argument about that car.

    with the maxima, you still have to break things that were never meant to be broken to get to the headlights. i agree with habitat that nissan is not legally liable...but they CAN make people happy by securing them even more.

    also, xenon lights are more prevalent and of lesser value now than they were a couple years ago.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Well written position, I just happen to disagree, but respectfully so.

    Take the Ford Pinto vs. Nissan Maxima example. It is reasonable to expect car manufacturers to know that there cars will be involved in accidents and if, in the case of Ford, they "value engineer" a cost savings to them by designing and producing a vehicle with a MUCH higher probability of gas tank rupturing and igniting, then yes, they should be held liable. Ford was making a calculated decision to increase corporate profits at the expense of human lives and that is not morally acceptable or legally defensible.

    In the case of the Maxima, headlight theft, while expensive, doesn't quite make it to that level of seriousness. The fact that the suit was brought by the NJ AG doesn't necessarily make me think it isn't still somewhat frivolous. Should Nissan come up with a fix - damn right if they want to maintain good customer goodwill. I'm just not convinced it's got the merits for a class action suit.

    I admit that I may be swinging too far in favor of manufacturers / business on this one. But given that there are roughly 600% more lawyers per capita in the US than Western Europe or Japan, I think some re-balancing is needed. When Greenspan speaks of higher productivity resulting in a higher standard of living in the US, I think we would all benefit from a few fewer lawyers getting in the way.

    Agree or not, I respect your opinion.
  • kenm8kenm8 Posts: 71
    With today's legal/court system, can one imagine the following scenario:

    A group of auto thieves filed a class action lawsuit today against the Blank motor car company for changing the design of its headlight assembly. Their claim is that it takes a much longer time to work on removing the HID unit with the likelihood that they will be discovered by the car owner or a passerby. One of their members was caught by the car owner and was quickly “tuned-up”. Someone noticed the commotion and called the police and the thief was arrested. He was trying to remove an assembly on an auto that had been updated with an anti-theft device. The thief claims that he would have been gone with the headlight assembly long before the owner arrived if the assembly had not been updated by mechanics at the Blank dealership. He and the group are suing for personal injury and mental anguish.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    Thank you all for your reply posts. After reading them, I am somewhat relieved and comforted to learn that I have persuaded at least some of you that the NJ suit is not completely frivolous. In further response to your posts, please allow me to say the following:

    Bowke -- I am confused by your comparing Pinto to the thieves. IMHO, you should compare the thieves to the drunk drivers, and the HIDs to Pinto's gas tank. As to your Ford Tempo, I am sorry to say that you did not have a claim against Ford because it is quite reasonable to assume that the window glass was up to industry standard (thus no liability). Also, you should have called a toll truck and stayed with the car, instead of abandoning it in a high crime area. Regarding the declining price of HIDs, I am sure this debate will become a non-issue or moot when HID prices equal to those of halogens because at such time, who wants to steal HIDs.

    Habitat -- I respect your position too, but I think I may be able to tweak it a bit. While it is true that exploding gas tanks involved human lives and stolen HIDs involved property only, but those are not factors for determining liability. The distinction you pointed out is relevant only for the purpose of calculating damages (i.e the amount to be paid to compensate the victim for his loss, whether it is his life or property) once liability is found. In my next post (below), I will address your position about corporate america and attorneys, as well as other issues.

    Kenm -- interesting scenario you depicted. But I don't think any self-respecting lawyer will represent the thieves in your story, because the law is black and white (no gray) that they don't have ANY claim.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    Emboldened and encouraged by the fact that Pat has yet to warn me about my somewhat off-topic (yet relevant and interesting) discussions, I carry on ...

    Habitat, I also share your pro-corporate america sentiments. My clients (or more aptly my firm's clients) are Fortune 500 companies and we advise them on various transactions that frequently make headline news. Therefore, I do understand how big companies operate and in many cases align myself with their thinking.

    For example, I think huge verdicts in the hundreds of millions will cripple corporate development and therefore we should have a cap on punitive damages. That said, however, I also believe in consumer protection laws, because without them, there will be little to check against corporations trying to raise their bottom line at the expense of public life and safety.

    You and others have stated that if we don't like a company's product, we can always buy it from another company because the market will weed out the bad ones. That is true. However, if you suffered a loss (life or significant property) because of a badly designed product, would you not seek compensation regardless of what the market will eventually do to that company?

    As to lawyers, I think you have been influenced by stereotypes and may have few prejudices. Not all lawyers are ambulance chasers ... the type I dislike. In fact, many lawyers help ordinary people like you and me in doing closings on our home purchases, or district attorneys and county prosecutors putting criminals behind bars when we are robbed or injured, etc. So, be a bit more open-minded without painting a broad brush over an entire category of professionals.

    Lastly, don't let prejudices influence your decision about guilt or innocence. As jurors, we often hear the court tell us we should look at the facts and apply the law/logic and put aside our preconceptions. In that vein, please review what I've said in my posts above and see if I have further changed your position. Thanks.

    Lastly, let me say that I still like my Maxima despite of the HID concerns. I think with this one sentence, I am safe from Pat's knife :-)
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I'm here. I've been here all along, as usual.

    It would be a really good thing if the focus of the conversation was the issues specifically with the Maxima and Maxima lawsuits and not verdicts, lawyers and lawsuits in general.

    And I don't really have a knife. I have a delete button. Which seems so much less violent than a knife. But we don't need to get into THAT conversation either! :-)

    How are everyone's Maximas? Anybody had their lights stolen? To what do you attribute that? And what did it cost you to replace them? I'm not sure that any of the posters on this issues have actually experienced the problem - have they?

    With or without that problem, does anyone have anything else to say or ask about Max's? Speak up, speak up! :-)
  • kenm8kenm8 Posts: 71
    Thank you Pat for setting us straight again.

    I love my 97 Max SE at 157K Mi. It has been relatively trouble-free and is running strong. I am interested in what 04 Max owners are experiencing. Tell us old timers (early 90's to 2003 Maxes) what you think about the 04.
  • andmoonandmoon Posts: 320
    I don't like the HIDs on my Maxima...they are so bright that they have to be aimed too low. I do get a very bright area right in front of the car and I really like how white the light is but they don't light up the area I am looking at.
    I would like to aim them higher but that would blind others...If my lights get stolen I think I would replace the lights with pre 02 lights. I wonder if all HID lights are the same or if a clearer cutoff (I remember BMW had non HID lights with a very sharp cutoff) at the top of the beam would help.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    Jersey has a lot of very nice neigborhoods, and some of the HIDs were taken from such locales.

    I agree with you that the validity of a lawsuit has nothing to do with where one parks his car, but the location can be a mitigating factor. For example, in your situation, you parked in some seedy area of Detroit, and assuming Ford was negligent in the design of its window glass in that it was not at all temper resistant as compared with windows made by other manufacturers (wrong assumption), the fact that you failed to exercise reasonable care in making sure that your car would NOT be vandalized (such as staying with the car when waiting for a tow truck) could reduce any damages you might collect against Ford. This is called contributory negligence, and is up to the trier of fact to decide whether you were more negligent than Ford.

    Bowke, please stay on the subject when you talk about industry or govt standards. Here we are talking about theft deterrent standards (i.e. how difficult it is to remove the HID) NOT whether the HID's brightness or angle of illumination etc meet industry or govt standards. Please read my prior posts carefully and you will get my point.

    Like you, I am sure that the Maxima HIDs meet govt and industry standards re brightness etc., the inquiry is whether they meet theft deterrent standards, and if there are no such standards, whether they meet a prudent manufacturer's standard. The Pinto gas tank example illustrates that that Ford had failed either the industry standard or prudent manufacturer standard.

    I am not saying that my point of view is correct or better. All I am trying to convey is that the NJ suit is NOT totally frivolous, as to which you seemed to have taken an ABSOLUTE and opposite position. Apply the law/logic to the facts and put aside your preconceived notions (i.e. gut feelings) and have an open mind :-).

    PEACE, PAL!!
  • bowke28bowke28 Posts: 2,185
    if the ease of theft of the xenon lights, for instance, put someone in physical danger, i would have a different opinion. also, if nissan attracted the buyers by stating that the lamps were "theft-proof" or "theft resistant", i would also feel differently. as it is, however, that isnt the case. its just as easy to steal a rear spoiler, wheels/tires, etc... heck, given enough time, a person could steal the darn engine!

    you also missed MY point about the fact that a thief still needs to get under the hood of a maxima to get the lamp assembly out. hence, the lamps have the SAME security systems as the engine, ABS box, distributor, battery, etc...

    our system of freedom is based on the freedom of choice. if i dont want to lose thousands due to vandalism or theft, i should buy a kia. this is a personal choice, and nissan cannot be held liable for an individual choosing the maxima, since they never made a false claim that the lamps were "theft-proof" or "theft-resistant" to attract the buyers in the first place.
  • kennyg5kennyg5 Posts: 360
    Thanks for not deleting my prior post :-)

    I think the posters on this thread are generally quite good in self-policing. Although we sometimes stray off track, we tend to correct ourselves fairly promptly, or at least try to insert something in a long post to bring the discussion somewhat back on track. I know this probably would not be okay if you should decide to use your line-item veto :-)

    This is an interesting debate (and I think you would agree) and we may occasionally use off-topic materials to bolster our point of view, but only to the extent they are relevant.

    I, on behalf of other posters, thank you for your indulgence (and forgiveness) in such regard.
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