SCRANTON, PA – August 13, 2015 – A little over one year after purchasing seven new Volvo compressed natural gas tractors, KANE filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania demanding Volvo honor its warranties in connection with one of the seven units that caught fire on Interstate 81 in early January, 2015.
The lawsuit arises out of a spectacular fire allegedly caused by intense heat generated by the compressed natural gas engine that was manufactured by codefendant, Cummins Westport. The lawsuit alleges that the excessive heat ignited combustibles in or around the poorly insulated exhaust system. The lawsuit also names Agility Fuel Systems, which manufactured and installed the compressed natural gas tanks and fuel delivery systems.
The purchase of the environmentally friendly vehicles by KANE in late July 2014 was lauded by PA state officials and customers who attended a press conference held by KANE. Unfortunately, less than five months and three thousand miles into the life of the vehicle, it caught fire during normal operation and quickly became consumed by flames. The fire and subsequent explosion were caught on video by a passerby and forwarded to KANE.
Due to Volvo’s failure to honor its warranties, KANE was forced to pursue legal action against Volvo for recovery of the tractor, the damaged trailer, cargo and related costs.
KANE President & CEO, Mike Gardner, has issued the following statement:
“KANE is very surprised that Volvo has refused to honor its warranty obligations on a tractor which had so few miles on it. We were patient and cooperative with Volvo while it exhaustively inspected and tested the vehicle to eliminate other potential causes of fire. Although Volvo admittedly found no other viable sources of the fire, they have refused to honor the warranty. It’s very disappointing that a prominent manufacturer like Volvo refuses to step up to the plate and take care of its obligations.”
KANE is also suing for the value of the remaining six vehicles, which it feels are unable to be driven, as the cause of the fire remains unexplained. According to Gardner, “We are not willing to risk the safety of our drivers, fellow motorists or our customers’ property unless these vehicles are deemed safe.”
Of note, earlier models of the same tractor had been the subject of a voluntary recall through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration due to defective sensors in the exhaust system which would cause excessive heat and fire. Volvo has informed KANE that it does not believe the subject vehicle was part of that recall.