Kane Is Able Inc., a national, third-party logistics company, has filed a lawsuit against Volvo Trucks in which it asks the manufacturer to, “honor its warranty obligations related to a recently purchased, natural-gas powered truck that allegedly caught fire during normal operation.”
The Scranton, Pa.-headquartered business said it purchased seven new Volvo compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors a little more than a year ago, and that one of the Volvo tractors caught fire on Interstate 81 in early January.
Kane is Able said it has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, asserting that Volvo breached its warranties in connection with the tractor that caught fire. The company operates a large truck fleet, as well as 25 distribution centers across the country.
The lawsuit also names Cummins Westport, the manufacturer of the compressed natural gas engine, and Agility Fuel Systems, which manufactured and installed the compressed natural gas tanks and fuel delivery systems.
According to the suit, the vehicle was only five months old and had been run only 3,000 miles before it caught fire during the course of an ordinary customer run.
The lawsuit claims Volvo has refused to pay for or replace the tractor, the damaged trailer, cargo and related costs. Kane alleges that Volvo has breached both express and implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose and that the unit was negligently manufactured and/or designed.
When reached for comment, a Volvo Trucks spokesman said the company believes the claims against the truck manufacturer are without merit.
“The vehicle involved in the Jan. 2, 2015 incident was equipped with an engine not manufactured by Volvo,” the spokesman said. “In addition, the fuel tanks were neither manufactured nor installed by Volvo.”
Volvo said it thoroughly investigated the incident in conjunction with the engine and tank manufacturers, keeping both the customer and NHTSA fully updated throughout. Volvo provided the customer with rental units at its cost to support their operations while the investigation was pending.
“After extensive investigation, we were unable to identify any defect in the design, materials, or manufacturing in any of the components installed by Volvo,” the spokesman said. “Our testing found no support for the cause of the fire suggested by Kane.”
The Volvo spokesman also said the recall mentioned in the complaint was not a Volvo vehicle recall, but rather a February 2014 Cummins engine recall, which affected multiple vehicle OEMs. “After inspecting the remaining Kane trucks, Cummins assured Volvo and Kane that the engines were not part of that recall and had, in fact, been manufactured with the corrective measures implemented by Cummins as a result of the recall.”
Volvo Trucks also said it worked closely with its supplier partners to thoroughly examine the vehicles Kane decided to park, adding, “This investigation convinced us that the vehicles should be returned to service.”
In its complaint, Kane is also seeking the value of the remaining six vehicles, which it has not used since the fire.