A proposed class action alleges Mercedes-Benz has fraudulently marketed its vehicles as safe without disclosing that the large panoramic sunroof found in certain models can shatter without warning.
Filed in Illinois against Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz, sunroof manufacturer Saint-Gobain Sekurit and car dealer Napleton Autowerks of Indiana, the 48-page suit alleges the automaker knowingly and intentionally “omitted, concealed, and inadequately provided” critical safety information that may have impacted drivers’ decisions to buy or lease their vehicles. The plaintiff, the owner of a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML 350, claims her sunroof shattered spontaneously in March 2020 while she was driving, spraying glass throughout the interior of the vehicle.
According to the case, the shattering of the plaintiff’s sunroof was “the product of a common and known defect” found in certain Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The lawsuit asserts Mercedes-Benz continues to market and sell certain vehicles without warning consumers of “the significant risks of unexpected sunroof explosion.”
Per the lawsuit, many Mercedes-Benz vehicles are sold with large sun or moon roofs, often called panoramic sunroofs. Due to its large size, a panoramic sunroof spans a large portion of a vehicle’s roof and poses unique engineering challenges given it requires “precise strengthening, attachment, and stabilization of the glass,” the suit explains, noting some automakers have been forced to issue recalls centered on their panoramic sunroofs.
The suit claims several Mercedes-Benz models are plagued by panoramic sunroof issues, and drivers have posed a number of complaints to the automaker, reporting their sunroofs have exploded, shattered and/or cracked during the course of normal use. The lawsuit stresses that the shattering of a Mercedes-Benz sunroof often occurs while a car is being driven, posing a substantial safety risk to drivers, passengers and anyone within the vehicle’s vicinity.
As the lawsuit tells it, the plaintiff’s sunroof abruptly exploded amid clear weather conditions and with the sun shining. The temperature at the time was between 35 and 40 degrees, the case says, and the plaintiff had the heat on low inside her vehicle. While driving, the plaintiff “heard a big boom as loud as a gunshot” and, upon seeing no other vehicles in proximity to hers, pulled over to inspect for exterior damage, per the complaint.
After re-entering the car and closing the door, glass rained down on the plaintiff as the sunroof caved in, the complaint says.
Though the automaker has pulled nearly 750,000 cars over sunroof issues, Mercedes-Benz has not recalled its ML 350 for sunroof problems, and has instead offered drivers between $250 and $500 “as a ‘good faith’ gesture” in return for forgoing legal action, the lawsuit claims, noting panoramic sunroof installation or replacement can run upward of $2,000.
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