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No Recall Announced Yet for Shattering Sunroofs

Steve Wagner

Synopsis

  • General Motors (GM) has responded to a Consumer Reports investigation about the occurrence of shattering panoramic sunroofs by conducting a voluntary safety review and instructing dealers to replace sunroof windows for free if they do not meet certain thickness specifications.
  • GM is not the only automaker accused of the faulty feature but so far, they are the only automaker to announce it will be conducting a safety review.
  • No formal recall for panoramic sunroofs has been set into motion at this time, leaving thousands of drivers at risk for accident and injury.
  • Wagner Reese believes automakers remain responsible for the safety of their vehicles and should create new protections for safe sunroofs before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.

What Drivers Need to Know About Shattering Sunroofs

Mega automaker General Motors has been prompted to conduct a review by a Consumer Report investigation of its panoramic sunroofs said to shatter and explode. Federal consumer complaints have reached nearly 900 incidents spanning 208 models and 35 GM brands. Roughly 70 percent of the incidents reported by consumers have occurred in the last 6 years, when larger, panoramic sunroofs became a staple in most vehicles.

A GMC owner from Florida shared this experience via Consumer Reports:

“My Husband William was driving a 2018 GMC Terrain Denali on Feb. 3,2018 on a clear day (just purchased in Nov. 2017) on Rt. 75 in Ft. Myers, Fl. over the Choloosahatchee River bridge when he heard a loud exploding sound at 70 mph. Almost lost control of vehicle in the left lane. Pulled over to stop to find out the problem when he could see that the sunroof was shattered. Went immediately to Dixie GMC dealer in Ft. Myers. Service was closed, and Sales Mgr. gave him a loaner car to use until Mon. So far, the dealership and GMC are refusing to repair the sunroof under warranty and want him to file a claim under our insurance which we feel is so wrong. As of this date, we are still fighting this – 2-16-18.”

A total of 18 automakers have since been called upon to improve sunroof designs and take action to improve driver and passenger safety in vehicles with the feature since the problem is wide spread across the globe. GM was the first automaker to respond. Kia and Hyundai brands housed a large fraction of the reported models with the sunroof safety issue.

According to Consumer Reports, auto safety advocates are calling for:

  • Any automaker with a pattern of shattering incidents should order a recall if it hasn’t already.
  • Regulators should expand their investigation of the Kia Sorento to include other automakers and models. There is enough evidence to consider this a safety defect, Friedman said, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should not wait for serious injuries in order to act.
  • The auto industry as a whole should establish stronger safety standards for panoramic sunroofs without waiting for regulators to act.

It’s Important to Document Vehicle Problems

At this time there is no formal recall although the Kia Sorento (model years 2011-2013) is currently under official investigation by NHTSA for a potentially defective sunroof, an ongoing inquiry that began in 2013.

If a vehicle has a problem, drivers should file official complaints to the public NHTSA database. What happens next is that if the agency receives similar reports from a number of people about the same product, this could indicate that a safety-related defect may exist that would warrant the opening of an investigation such as the issue with exploding panoramic sunroofs and prompt an official recall.

Car Accident Injury Due to Exploding Sunroof?

Wagner Reese attorneys are experienced with car accidents and product liability. If you believe a faulty or exploding sunroof caused your accident or injury, contact us at (888) 204-8440 to schedule an appointment or use our confidential contact form.

Additional resources: Visit www.safercar.gov to report a problem or check the recall status of a vehicle.

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