Tango Transport sues Navistar, claiming hundreds of trucks had defective engines

Navistar’s MaxxForce 15Navistar’s MaxxForce 15

Major national carrier Tango Transport (No. 124 in the CCJ Top 250) has become the latest carrier to sue Navistar-International over the truck and engine maker’s line of EGR-only MaxxForce engines, built between 2008 and 2012.

In a suit filed Aug. 28, Tango claims it bought or leased 455 trucks with defective engines from Navistar and that Navistar knew the engines were defective but concealed that information from buyers.

Tango’s suit follows several others brought in recent months with similar claims, some of which are class-action suits that would cover other truck buyers who bought trucks from the carrier during that 5-year time frame.

Navistar spokesperson Elissa Mauer said in July the company does not respond to pending litigation.

Tango Transport had nearly 850 power units in 2013, according to the latest CCJ Top 250.Tango Transport had nearly 850 power units in 2013, according to the latest CCJ Top 250.

Navistar stopped producing its EGR-only MaxxForce 15-liter engine in late 2012, opting to use the Cummins ISX15 as its 15-liter option. The company abandoned the EGR-only approach with its MaxxForce 13 at the same time and began equipping those engines with SCR aftertreatment systems in a partnership with Cummins.

Tango says it bought 2011, 2012 and 2013 year-model International tractors equipped with Navistar’s MaxxForce Advanced EGR engines, and they “failed or are substantially certain to fail well before their intended and expected useful life,” according to Tango’s lawsuit.

The suit stems from Navistar’s lack of disclosure of the engine defects and its “active concealment…that the emissions system…is defective and leads to repeated failures,” according to court documents.

Tango says it had to repeatedly have the engines repaired and the EGR systems and components replaced.

The engine defects also caused sudden breakdowns while in use, Tango claims, which forced its operators to pull risky maneuvers to get off the highway. They also caused fumes from coolant and exhaust to enter the interior of the truck, which put drivers at risk of being poisoned, Tango adds in its suit.

In addition to financial losses, Tango claims in its lawsuit that its reputation with customers has been damaged.

“Plaintiffs have suffered loss of profits; downtime expenses and losses; out-of-pocket repair expenses; fuel expenses incurred in excess of represented amounts, towing expenses, lodging expenses for drivers; driver downtime; detour fuel expenses, costs and driver time; diminished resale value; loss of revenue; loss of customer goodwill,” and other losses, according to the lawsuit.

Like the other lawsuits brought against the company recently, Tango says Navistar knew about the defects, possibly as early as 2004, yet continued to market its product as “reliable and durable.”

Tango’s lawsuit cites an unrelated suit brought last year against Navistar over its financial dealings that quotes numerous confidential witnesses — including former chief engineers at Navistar — that say the company was told by those developing the engines that an EGR-only approach was physically impossible.

Other confidential witnesses claimed former Navistar President Dan Ustian threatened to fire employees for even discussing alternatives to an EGR-only approach, while others said Navistar executives knew early on in the development phase about the near-impossibility of EGR yet continued to push the company in that direction.

Tango is suing on counts of breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, breach of good faith and fair dealing covenant, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment and unjust enrichment, among others.

The carrier is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, along with attorney fees.

Click here to read CCJ’s coverage of the other suits.