Class Action Alleges Hyundai Knowingly Put Exploding Sunroofs on the Road
January 22, 2013

by Casey Neeley,

In a class action suit filed January 14, counsel for plaintiffs Linda, Sonia and Fernando Palacios of McAllen, Texas, allege that Hyundai Motor America knowingly put consumers at risk by selling Veloster models with faulty sunroofs.

In the complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, it reads, "Hyundai has actively concealed the exploding sunroof defect from consumers."

Further, plaintiffs allege, "Even when vehicle owners present their cars after the sunroof has exploded, Hyundai's policy is to simply replace it with an identical, defective part, act as if the problem has been solved and continue concealing the exploding sunroof defect from prospective Veloster purchasers and lessees. Hyundai knew that potential car buyers and lessees would deem the exploding sunroof defect to be material such that reasonable consumers who knew of the defect either would have paid less for the class vehicles or would not have purchased or leased a class vehicle at all."

The Palacios say they were motivated to seek legal action after they found the sunroof to Linda's 2013 Veloster had shattered.

"On or about December 4, 2012, the sunroof exploded while Linda Palacios was parked. The explosion sent shattered glass all over the car, damaging the seats," reads the complaint.

"The force of the explosion was so great that it bent the metal frame surrounding the sunroof assembly," counsel further alleges in the complaint. "By fortunate chance, Mrs. Palacios was not in the car when the sunroof exploded."

Plaintiffs further contend that upon taking the vehicle to the Hyundai dealer for repair they were told that there wasn't a known issue with the Veloster sunroofs and the "repair may not be covered under warranty." The Palacios allege further that the "dealership offered to replace the sunroof but only with an identical part, presumably containing the identical dangerous defect."

In the complaint the Palacios also allege Hyundai kept the information of the defect from consumers to maintain sales of the Velosters by saying, "Hyundai knows of the exploding sunroof defect and knows that consumers are not aware of the risk that their sunroofs could explode without warning. Nevertheless, Hyundai refused to acknowledge that there was any problem for [more than] a year and has recently issued only a partial recall limited to 2012 Veloster vehicles manufactured from November 1, 2011 through April 17, 2012. Hyundai has still not informed current owners and lessees of other class vehicles about the exploding sunroof defect, has not disclosed exploding sunroof defect to purchasers and lessors of 2013 model class vehicles and continues to market and promote the 2013 model class vehicles as safe."

Hyundai officials say they recognized an issue with the sunroofs, manufactured by Hankuk Sekurit, in October when it launched an investigation after receiving multiple consumer complaints through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). After evaluating the complaints, Hyundai issued a voluntary recall notice through NHTSA in December.

"There was an intermittent malfunction with the assembly and loading robot and occasionally there was contact with the robot loading arm and the sunroof glass," Jim Trainor, product public relations senior group manager for Hyundai Motor America, told™/AGRR™ magazine in a December interview. "That contact in some cases caused damage to the glass which is what lead to the fracture of that glass in the field."

Trainor provided the following statement in response to the lawsuit Friday, "We haven't seen the lawsuit and are unable to comment any further."

Stay tuned to for further updates on this case. Also look to the January/February issue of AGRR magazine for more on the rising number of exploding sunroofs.

This story is an original story by AGRR™ magazine/™. Subscribe to AGRR™ Magazine.
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