BMW has settled two class-action lawsuits that claimed the manufacturer’s sunroofs were defective on certain makes and models, resulting in thousands of dollars’ worth of damage not covered under warranty.
The lawsuit, which was brought forth by California residents Monita Sharma and Eric Anderson in 2013, states that certain vehicles’ sunroof drain tubes get clogged, allowing water to enter the area of the spare tire and cause damage to important electrical components. The result was $2,000 worth of damage that Anderson had to cover himself, as a dealer informed him it wasn’t covered by warranty.
The vehicles listed in the settlement include 2004-2010 BMW 5 Series (E60 and E61), and states that these models aren’t protected from potential water damage, which could ruin electrical components that are expensive to have fixed or replaced.
The original complaint states, “BMW designed, manufactured, distributed, sold, and leased various makes and models of BMW vehicles that contain a serious design defect that significantly impacts both the safety and value of its vehicles. Specifically, numerous models of BMW vehicles manufactured during the class period were designed so that certain vital electrical components known as SDARS, RDC, and PDC modules, are located in the lowest part of the vehicles’ trunk. … Because BMW decided to place these vital electrical components in what is essentially the lowest part of the vehicle (the spare tire well under the trunk), they are especially prone to water damage that can be caused through the normal and ordinary use of the vehicle.
“When this water damage occurs, the vehicles become inoperable and pose a serious safety risk to those who experience this problem. Although these components are highly susceptible to water damage, BMW provides no warnings or advisories to BMW owners about the location of this vital equipment or the importance of keeping the vehicle’s trunk compartment free of liquids,” the lawsuit continues.
BMW did not confess to any wrongdoing or negligence but moved forward with a settlement to avoid the added cost and time of a continued trial.
According to the proposed settlement, BMW owners of affected vehicles can schedule an appointment with an authorized BMW dealer for an inspection within one year of the final settlement date. Any water-damaged components will be repaired or replaced. In addition, any owner who paid out-of-pocket to cover repair or replacement expenses will be reimbursed, up to $1,500, after submitting a claim and providing evidence of the repair.
Dealers will also affix a warning label to the trunks of vehicles.