16th December 21:08
Maxima Headlights - Nissan settles with 02/03 NJ owners for $325k
Anyone get their Xenon headlights ripped off in NJ? If so, you may be
able to claim some cash...
Maxima owners to get piece of $325,000 for headlight thefts
Friday, January 20, 2006
BY WAYNE PARRY
Owners of Nissan Maximas whose headlights were stolen between December
2002 and November 2003 will share in part of a $325,000 payment the
company is making to New Jersey to settle a lawsuit the state brought
over the thefts.
In March 2004, the state sued Nissan North America, alleging the
automaker failed to warn customers that the super-bright xenon headlights
on its Maximas were hot targets for thieves.
More than 750 car owners were victimized by thieves trying to steal the
moon-blue lights from 2002 or 2003 Maximas.
That lawsuit was dismissed, but the state appealed.
The settlement announced yesterday will end the state's appeal and
provide for a $325,000 payment to the state Division of Consumer Affairs.
Part of the money will be used to reimburse the state's investigative
costs, with the rest going to consumers who had their lights stolen, said
Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office.
He could not estimate how much individual vehicle owners might receive.
The headlights typically cost about $1,800 to replace -- not counting
repair costs for other damage done by thieves, which can bring the total
to $4,000 or more.
The thefts have spread like a rash throughout suburban neighborhoods,
with thieves targeting car dealerships and parking lots. In November,
about a dozen concertgoers at Continental Airlines Arena walked out after
a Bruce Springs**** concert to discover their headlights were plucked
And on Monday, police in Morris Township said 12 sets of xenon headlights
were stolen from cars parked in business parking lots on Madison Avenue.
The headlights were worth about $2,000 per set and taken from Acura,
Infiniti and Lexus models.
Maplewood Police Capt. Walter Mueller said headlights were stolen
routinely last summer until the police department assigned two officers
to crack down on the thefts. The department made several arrests by the
end of the summer.
"We had a rash of those, but they abated," Mueller said.
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Mueller said police speculated the suspects were trying to sell the
headlights to chop shops.
The state said the company began a theft deterrent program in November
2003 that included free installation of a theft-deterrent bracket for the
But in its 2004 lawsuit, the state claimed Nissan knew that its lights
were being targeted by thieves for a year before telling customers about
Frederique Le Greves, a spokeswoman for Nissan, said yesterday the
settlement was good for all parties.
"Really what is most important for us is the customer feedback," she
said. "We want them to be happy with their Maxima and continue to drive
Le Greves said to her knowledge, no other state has taken legal action
like New Jersey has.
The state's lawsuit alleges that on Sept. 26, 2002, the company issued a
bulletin to its service technicians stating that a replacement connector
kit was available for the headlights damaged by theft.
Two months later, the lawsuit alleged, Nissan sent another bulletin to
service reps informing them that a $175 theft-deterrent kit was available
"if a customer requests" and "for customer pay only."