A new class action lawsuit alleges that Subaru of America manufactured and sold certain vehicles equipped with Starlink infotainment systems containing a defect that has rendered them partially or wholly inoperable.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, was brought by four plaintiffs who own or lease Subaru vehicles with Starlink infotainment systems.
Subaru Class Action Claims
The Subaru class action lawsuit alleges that the Starlink systems in their vehicles have malfunctioned in a number of ways, including:
- Becoming non-responsive
- Experiencing “ghost touch” or phantom input
- Shutting off
- Working intermittently or not at all
The Starlink system’s “head unit,” located in the vehicle’s center console, is crucial to the operation of the infotainment system.
According to the lawsuit, the impacted Subaru 2019-2023 models—Outback, Legacy, Forester, and WRX—are equipped with updated Starlink systems manufactured by the Japanese supplier Denso.
These Denso-made units were intended to resolve issues that plagued previous Harman Gen 3 units. However, the class action alleges that the new Denso-made systems suffer from the same defects as their predecessors.
The lawsuit claims Subaru’s marketing materials tout the benefits of the Starlink system, promising seamless navigation, extra safety, and everyday convenience. However, the real-world experiences of Subaru owners paint a different picture.
The lawsuit states that the automaker is “aware of the problem” but has failed to provide adequate repairs, replacements, or software updates to address the issue.
Some Subaru owners who brought their vehicles to dealerships for repairs received replacement head units that were also affected by the same defect, while others were not provided with a replacement due to backorders.
As a result, many consumers had to pay out of pocket for ineffective repairs or replacements, with costs reaching into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
The class action further claims that Subaru has continued to sell and lease the affected 2019-2023 models without fixing the problem or disclosing the defect to consumers.
This is not the first time that Subaru has faced legal action over the Starlink system. In 2019, Subaru of America paid $6.3 million to settle a proposed class action filed over similar Starlink problems in certain 2017 and 2018 vehicles
Subaru Class Action Seeks Damages for Owners
The class action lawsuit claims that the defective Starlink systems have caused them a number of problems, including:
- Safety concerns
- Financial losses
The plaintiffs are seeking damages for the costs they have incurred in connection with the defective Starlink systems, as well as for the inconvenience, frustration, and safety concerns they have experienced.
Subaru has not yet responded to the class action lawsuit.
Subaru Class Action FAQ
What is Starlink?
Starlink is Subaru’s proprietary infotainment system. It is standard equipment on all Subaru vehicles except for the BRZ sports car. Starlink provides a variety of features, including: touchscreen display, navigation system, sound system, hands-free phone system, rearview camera, and Wi-Fi hotspot.
What are the alleged defects with Starlink?
The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit allege that Starlink is defective because it is prone to malfunction. They allege that the system has frozen, become non-responsive, experienced “ghost touch” or phantom input, shut off, rebooted, worked intermittently or not at all.The plaintiffs also allege that the defective Starlink systems have caused them a number of problems, including:
Inconvenience: The plaintiffs allege that the defective Starlink systems have caused them inconvenience by making it difficult to use the features of their vehicles. For example, the plaintiffs allege that they have been unable to use their navigation systems, play music, or make phone calls while driving.
Frustration: The plaintiffs allege that the defective Starlink systems have caused them frustration by making it difficult to use their vehicles. For example, the plaintiffs allege that they have had to pull over to the side of the road to reset their Starlink systems, and that they have had to call Subaru for assistance on multiple occasions.
Safety concerns: The plaintiffs allege that the defective Starlink systems have caused them safety concerns by making it difficult to focus on driving. For example, the plaintiffs allege that the Starlink systems have frozen or become non-responsive while they were driving, which has distracted them and made it difficult for them to focus on the road.
Financial losses: The plaintiffs allege that they have suffered financial losses as a result of the defective Starlink systems. For example, the plaintiffs allege that they have had to pay for repairs to their vehicles, and that they have lost time from work due to the problems with their Starlink systems.
What Subaru models are part of the class action lawsuit?
The class action lawsuit alleges that certain 2019-2023 Subaru models are equipped with defective Starlink infotainment systems, including: Outback, Legacy, Forester, and WRX.
What are the plaintiffs seeking?
The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit are seeking damages for the costs they have incurred in connection with the defective Starlink systems, as well as for the inconvenience, frustration, and safety concerns they have experienced. The plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction that would require Subaru to recall the defective Starlink systems.
What is Subaru’s response?
Subaru has not yet responded to the class action lawsuit. However, the company has issued a statement saying that it is “committed to providing our customers with the best possible ownership experience.” Subaru also said that it is “continually working to improve the Starlink system.”
What does this mean for Subaru owners?
If you own a Subaru vehicle with Starlink, you should be aware of the potential defects that have been alleged in the class action lawsuit. If you have experienced any problems with your Starlink system, you should contact Subaru to report the problem. You may also want to consider joining the class action lawsuit.