A dozen plaintiffs from around the United States have filed a lawsuit alleging a seat defect in 2018-2021 Volkswagen Atlas models. Specifically, they claim a defect exists in the latching device, which is designed to secure the second-row seats and allow them to fold down for more storage in the rear or to let passengers access the third row of seats. This problem can allegedly cause the seats to collapse forward while the vehicle decelerates.
The plaintiffs argue the Atlas, Volkswagen’s first American-made SUV, is marketed as a safe and family-ready vehicle. As alleged in the lawsuit, the Atlas is Volkswagen’s “designated family-hauler”; in introducing the 2018 model, Volkswagen demonstrated the three-row interior by filling the back seats with five basketball players, including a former Lakers player who is over seven feet tall.
Yet, the complaint contends, the latching device fails on deceleration, which decouples the seating assembly from the portion of the vehicle that secures the seats, and Volkswagen knows about this issue but has failed to correct it.
The lawsuit includes claims of breach of warranty, fraud by concealment or omission, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and violation of state consumer laws. The plaintiffs seek remedies including restitution, damages, and repair or replacement of the device and/or a buyback of all class vehicles.
The case is Beatriz Tijerina, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., et al., case number 2:21-cv-18755, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.