The massive agreement calls for GM to reimburse class members anywhere from $50 to $800 for repairs necessitated by problems associated with Dex-Cool, an orange-colored fluid sold in millions of GM cars and trucks beginning in 1995.
Depending on the number of claims, the total value of the settlement could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
“I think we’ll be inundated with claims,” said Kansas City attorney Jack Brady of Shughart Thomson & Kilroy, who served as co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “I think it has the potential to be one of the biggest settlements in the automotive industry, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Tom Wilkinson, a spokesman for GM, declined to comment on the settlement.
But in court documents, GM has denied liability and insisted that Dex-Cool protected engines for longer periods than traditional coolants, caused less wear on certain engine parts and provided various environmental benefits. It said that owners who experienced engine and cooling system problems had not followed maintenance instructions.
San Francisco attorney Eric Gibbs, the other lead counsel in the case, estimated that the settlement could cover as many as 20 million initial and secondary buyers of GM vehicles that used Dex-Cool. It remains unclear how many of those buyers will make a claim.