Mercedes-Benz is recalling nearly 750,000 cars in the United States because the sunroof glass panels can separate from their frames. According to filings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Webasto, the supplier, did not apply enough primer coating to the frame during installation. The automaker did not say how many sunroofs have broken or report any accidents or injuries.
Owners of 2001 through 2011 Mercedes-Benz sedans can enter their VIN on the automaker’s website to find out if it is involved in the recall. The problem specifically affects all trims of these vehicles: 2001–2007 C-class, 2003–2009 CLK-class, 2007–2011 CLS-class, and 2003–2009 E-class. Dealers will inspect the roofs starting in mid-February and replace those determined by the factory to be faulty. The repair procedure has not yet been published to NHTSA. Owners who have already paid for the repairs will be eligible to seek reimbursements from the company.
Mercedes-Benz says that it began investigating the problem in December 2017 after receiving reports of detached sunroofs outside the U.S. The company was unable to come up with a clear root cause until an unspecified date after November 2018, according to the filing. A Mercedes-Benz USA spokesman said he did not have a worldwide vehicle total for the recall.
Mercedes-Benz was fined $20 million last month for mishandling dozens of recalls after a year-long U.S. government investigation into 1.4 million recalled vehicles. The company was accused of failing to notify owners in a timely fashion in some recalls, failing to submit all reports, and failing to launch at least two recalls in a timely fashion. Under the terms of the settlement, the automaker will pay $13 million and faces another $7 million fine if it does not comply with the agreement. The company is also now under a two-year audit by NHTSA.