Lawsuit Alleges Volvo Models Misrepresented as Compatible with Android Auto
A class action has been filed alleging that Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, and Volvo Car USA, LLC (collectively, “Volvo”) misrepresented that certain Volvo XC90s were compatible with Android Auto, when they were in fact not.
Plaintiff Robert Middien initially sued Volvo regarding the Volvo XC90s and their compatibility with Android Auto in September 2017 in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, case number 1:17-cv-11721-LTS. After Volvo challenged Mr. Middien’s attempt to file on behalf of a class of members that did not reside in Massachusetts, he voluntarily dismissed that claim and instead filed suit in New Jersey, which Plaintiff alleges is Volvo’s principal place of business. Mr. Middien subsequently withdrew from the suit; the named plaintiffs are now Fredrick Scott Levine and Douglas W. Murphy.
According to the First Amended Class Action Complaint, filed by Mr. Levine and Mr. Murphy in March 2020 on behalf of themselves and all other purchasers and lessees of the 2016 and 2017 Volvo XC90s, Volvo “made substantial efforts to distinguish the Volvo XC90 from its competitors’ automobiles by marketing it as more technologically advanced and unique than the competition,” including touting a technology user interface called “Sensus.” According to the complaint, Volvo “stated in its press releases and marketing materials that a significant, cutting edge feature of Sensus was that it was or would be compatible with the coveted Google application, Android Auto,” which would allow drivers to integrate features in their Android smartphones with the Sensus system. Plaintiffs assert Android Auto allows users to control their smartphones through the car’s touchscreen display, steering wheel buttons, and/or voice commands, and certain smartphone applications and functions, such as phone calls and driving direction applications (e.g., Google Maps), appear on the console.
The complaint further contends that around December 2016, Volvo added Android Auto to the 2017 XC90s it was then manufacturing and offered complimentary upgrades to create Sensus compatibility with Android Auto; however, such upgrades were unnavailable for 2016 XC90s, and only available for 2017 XC90s built after April 2016. Further, the plaintiffs allege that while Volvo made a “USB Installation Kit” available to make the vehicles at issue compatible with Android Auto, it required buyers to pay the installation costs.
Plaintiff Mr. Levine alleged he purchased a non-compatible 2016 Volvo XC90 and, upon requesting installation of the USB Installation Kit at a Volvo dealership, was informed it could only be installed at his expense. As alleged in the complaint, Volvo’s “Customer Care Team” informed him:
We have finished reviewing your case and as much as we truly desire to resolve all of our customer’s requests to their satisfaction, it is not possible to meet every expectation. We regret that in this instance, Volvo Car USA cannot accommodate your request for assistance with part costs. We apologize for any inconvenience in this matter. We have attached a 30% off mail-in rebate coupon (parts and accessories only) to this email, that can be mailed in with your invoice after, to receive a check for the maximum allowed amount.
The lawsuit alleges the USB Installation Kit became available after Mr. Middien filed his Massachusetts lawsuit against Volvo. The plaintiffs raise claims of deceptive acts in violation of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, as well as breach of express warranties. They seek remedies including damages and attorneys’ fees.
Currently, the case is pending discovery and Volvo’s motion to dismiss. The case is Levine et al. v. Volvo Cars of North America, LLC et al, case number 2:18-cv-03760-CCC-JBC, in the United States District Court for New Jersey.