The discussion in court that began hundreds of victims of the alleged factory defects that have the Fiat Toro trucks, far from being resolved is increasing the intensity of the confrontation. In addition to the claims that are processed in the Civil jurisdiction, PROFILE CÒRDOBA confirmed that there are at least two crossed criminal complaints between the manufacturer FCA Automobile Argentina SA (Fiat Argentina) and lawyers who sponsor clients who process their claims.
None of the files have definitions so far. They are based in the Prosecutor’s Office for Complex Crimes in charge of Enrique Gavier, where there is secrecy around their content. What did emerge is that the terms of each of the presentations and the steps to be taken are analyzed, bearing in mind the complexity of the topic to be addressed.
One of the complaints was made by the owner of the company of Italian origin, sponsored by the lawyer Matías Pueyrredón. He asks that the lawyers representing some 300 buyers of the Toro be investigated.
The other is signed by the lawyers Rodolfo de Ferrari, Pablo Martínez Paz and Cecilia Di Giusto –they assist buyers of the trucks at the Civil headquarters–, with the sponsorship of Benjamín Sonzini Astudillo. From the summons as a witness of a client in a criminal record, they interpret that intimidates and discourages victims to initiate or continue civil actions for failures that, in their opinion, are sufficiently proven and documented. That is why they made the presentation.
De Ferrari informed this medium that they also requested intervention from the Bar Association due to the infringement of their rights as lawyers. There were promises from the professional entity, but they did not materialize.
Empty hands. To date, more than 300 victims that filed civil lawsuits have not obtained favorable responses. In the first and second instance, precautionary measures were issued for the provisional replacement of the pickups – until reaching a judgment on the merits – but the Superior Court of Justice (TSJ) ended up revoking them and unifying the files, with which the ruling covered all .
With the votes of María Marta Cáceres de Bollati, Luis Angulo and Domingo Sesín, in a striking decision, he argued that the breakdowns had only been verified in four cases and not in the entire universe of demanding clients. And he made it clear that, by complying with the indications of the added manual, the proper functioning of the trucks could be protected.
Along with individual actions, there is a collective one carried out by the United Users and Consumers Association (UCU).
The bad business of the Police. One of the clients of the Fiat Toro was the Córdoba Police. He bought 108 units between 2016 and 2020: 80 Freedon 4×2, 18 Freedon 4×4 and 10 Volcano 4×4. Except for the latter, the 98 remaining They belong to the universe of pickups with the possibility of failure.
In one of the civil files there is a report signed by the Head of the Transportation Department of the force dated October 28, 2020 that reveals a agreement with Fiat and Montironi dealership for “damaged vehicles”.
In the last point, the report states verbatim: “According to the agreement between the parties, the warranty covers the complete engine change, not the automotive unit; To date, the engine was changed under warranty to seven units in the course of 2019 and 2020, with six units pending for the engine change under warranty; these are in the firm Montironi SA for their repair ”.
In other words, three years or less after its acquisition, 13 of the 98 units had to be changed engines. Who buys a vehicle knowing that the engine will have to be changed? And in such a short time? What is striking is that, in addition, the Province and / or the Córdoba Police did not agree to replace the units whose defects, evidently assumed, were from the factory
A JUDGMENT ORDERED TO PAY THE UPDATED AMOUNT
In Buenos Aires, the National Chamber of Commercial Appeals, Chamber A, ruled in favor of a buyer of a Fiat Toro. He ordered the factory to receive the defective truck and pay him the value of the vehicle according to the current seat price, plus interest according to the active rate of Banco Nación.
The importance of the sentence is that it is a pronouncement on the merits of the matter, was issued by a court of second instance and recognizes the justice of the claim. There are others similar in various parts of the country. In Córdoba, there were still no pronouncements on the merits of the proposal. The plaintiffs wait for the 41st Nomination Civil and Commercial Court to be issued. In those files, the lawyers incorporated the sentence of the Buenos Aires chamber.
WHAT DO THEY FAIL
The problem presented by the versions of the Fiat Toro on which the claims were made is in the Diesel particulate filter, called DPF (for its acronym in English). It is a built-in device to reduce the polluting effect. To regenerate it, the instructions indicate that the vehicle must be driven for 15 minutes without interruptions at 60 km / hour and 2,000 revolutions.
For the correct maintenance of the engine, the procedure must be carried out at the precise moment indicated by the electronic boards of the unit. Maintenance is impossible to fulfill if the pickup is given urban use.
There are three judicially documented cases in which they caught fire the truck engines due to the malfunction of the DPF, according to the expert reports that the plaintiffs accompanied. In all cases the fault was in the filter.
◆ 2016-2017: Fiat imported 15,500 Toro trucks in different versions with manual gearbox.
◆ 2017: Problems began to appear. It was detected that the diesel was passing into the crankcase. December 2017: Fiat makes a recall. It puts into action a mechanism to relieve problems that buyers indicated and concludes that some units have failures that make them dangerous for drivers, occupants and third parties. This can be seen in a supplementary manual entitled “How to take care of your Fiat Toro, important information to preserve your pickup”, in which they specify special maintenance instructions.
◆ January 2018: Fiat stopped importing from Brazil the ranges with manual transmission of the truck. To date, only buy the versions with automatic box
◆ 2019-2020: Individual lawsuits and a collective action are filed. All fall to the Civil and Commercial Court of 41st Nomination. They are against Fiat and dealerships. May 2020: The Civil and Commercial Chamber of the 7th Nomination unanimously confirms, with a favorable opinion from the Prosecutor’s Office, the precautionary measure that requires Fiat to temporarily replace defective vehicles until there is a final judgment. The decision was in a file with three plaintiffs.
◆ August 2020: Fiat agrees with some customers to replace faulty trucks. But it does not happen with all.
◆ April 2021: The Supreme Court revokes the injunction unifying the criteria for all private lawsuits initiated. In the ruling, signed by Marta Cáceres de Bollati, Luis Angulo and Domingo Sesín, the members analyzed that the lawsuit causes damage to the image of Fiat and could imply the exodus of the plant, with the damage that it entails.
◆ October 2021: Victims await a ruling on the merits of the claims by the Civil Court of 41st Nomination.
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