In Martinez v. Kia Motors America, Inc., — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2011 WL 711878 (2011), the California Court of Appeal rejected a vehicle manufacturer’s claim that the consumer must be in possession of the vehicle (i.e. not have had it repossessed) in order to prevail in a lemon law case. The Court of Appeal explained:
Plaintiff and appellant Juanita Martinez purchased a new 2002 Kia Sedona. She experienced significant problems with the vehicle within the warranty period, and took it to two Kia dealerships for repair. The dealerships denied warranty coverage and told her she would have to pay for the repair. Unable to pay, she left the vehicle at a dealership. It was later repossessed and sold. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against defendant and respondent Kia Motors America, Inc., alleging two violations of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act (Civ.Code, § 1790 et seq.) (the Act): breach of express warranty (§ 1793.2) and breach of the implied warranty of merchantability (§ 1792). Defendant moved for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff was not entitled to any of the remedies provided by the Act because she no longer possessed the vehicle. In granting summary judgment, the trial court ruled that plaintiff could not seek replacement or reimbursement under the Act because she no longer possessed the vehicle. We disagree. ¶ “The Song-Beverly Act is a remedial statute designed to protect consumers who have purchased products covered by an express warranty. [Citation.] One of the most significant protections afforded by the act is … that ‘if the manufacturer or its representative in this state does not service or repair the goods to conform to the applicable express warranties after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall either replace the goods or reimburse the buyer in an amount equal to the purchase price paid by the buyer….’ [Citation.]” ( Robertson v. Fleetwood Travel Trailers of California, Inc. (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 785, 798, fn. omitted.) In providing these remedies, the Legislature has not required that the consumer maintain possession of the goods at all times. All that is necessary is that the consumer afford the manufacturer a reasonable number of attempts to repair the goods to conform to the applicable express warranties. On this basis we reverse the judgment.