A proposed class action lawsuit alleges a number of popular Volkswagen and Audi models come equipped with inherently defective sunroofs that can leak and damage a vehicle’s interior, electrical systems and safety sensors.
Having just barely emerged from the rubble of the “Dieselgate” scandal, Volkswagen, in an attempt to rebuild its reputation, began offering what it calls a “People First” bumper-to-bumper new vehicle limited warranty that covers six years/72,000 miles and is the longest in the auto industry, the lawsuit begins. Unfortunately for some consumers, the 45-page suit says, the warranty is not being honored for the following vehicle models, all of which are allegedly equipped with defective, leak-prone sunroofs:
2015-Present Audi A1 Mk2;
2015-Present Audi A3 Mk3;
2015-Present Audi TT Mk3;
2015-Present Audi Q2;
2015-Present Audi Q3;
2015-Present Volkswagen Arteon;
2015-Present Volkswagen Atlas/Teramont;
2015-Present Volkswagen Golf;
2015-Present Volkswagen Jetta;
2015-Present Volkswagen Passat;
2015-Present Volkswagen Polo;
2015-Present Volkswagen Tiguan; and
2015-Present Volkswagen Touran.
According to the complaint, defendants Volkswagen Group of America and Volkswagen AG refuse to repair, correct or otherwise address the sunroof defect, much less live up to their promise to make “any repair to correct a defect in the manufacturer’s material or workmanship.” Further, citing “internal documents” reportedly sent from the German automaker to North American dealers, the suit alleges VW has “long been aware” of the defect and has actively concealed the problem from drivers who are left to discover the issue on their own.
“VW may have intended its new warranty to win over consumers after Dieselgate, but given that VW will not acknowledge or repair the known sunroof defect, the warranty has not restored Class Vehicle consumers’ faith in VW,” the lawsuit reads. “VW has created another scandal through its deceptive and fraudulent business practices wherein they profit and consumers suffer.”
The case claims Volkswagen has issued “no less than five” technical service bulletins dating as far back as March 2016 that pertain to the sunroofs with which the above-listed vehicle models are equipped. These technical service bulletins, according to the complaint, touched on everything from tips for dealers on how to replace faulty sunroof frames, to investigating complaints of water leakage from sunroof drain tubes, to an August 2017 notice in which the lawsuit alleges the automaker informed dealers that it is “not notifying consumers” of the problem.
As a result of Volkswagen’s conduct, drivers have been left to incur substantial out-of-pocket repair bills, according to the case. Some, the lawsuit says, have even had to file claims through their auto insurance policies and incurred substantial deductibles. Given that consumers reasonably expected that any damage related to the sunroof defect would be covered under warranty—and, thanks to VW’s advertising, expected their vehicles to perform to a certain level—proposed class members have been deprived of the benefit of their bargain, the case argues. According to the complaint, consumers would not have bought or leased their VW or Audi vehicles, or would have paid far less for the cars, had they known of the sunroof leakage issue.
The complaint states that the plaintiff anticipates amending the list of affected vehicles once all VW and Audi models with defective sunroofs have been identified. The lawsuit looks to cover all consumers who bought or leased any of the Volkswagen or Audi vehicle models listed above or any other model with substantially similar component sunroof parts.