GM Responds to Consumer Reports Investigation into Faulty Sunroofs
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GM Responds to Consumer Reports Investigation into Faulty Sunroofs

Friday, March 16, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

In our January, 2018 blog, we featured a report about the dangers of exploding sunroofs in cars. Consumer Reports’ investigation in October, 2017 confirmed that 859 complaints about exploding sunroofs were filed with the government between 1995 and 2017. These complaints spanned across 208 car models representing 35 brands in the United States. Now one car manufacturer is taking action by voluntarily conducting internal investigations of its sunroofs.

General Motors (GM) announced in late January that it is initiating an investigation of its panoramic sunroofs based on reports filed by owners of its cars. In a statement, GM said that the company is committed to the safety of its drivers and routinely reviews issues that are reported by consumers of their products. In addition, the company stated that it designs all sunroofs in accordance with universal glazing standards and regulations, which have been established by auto glazing experts. The standards issued by these entities are designed to ensure passenger safety, and in this case, prevent injuries resulting from contact with a glazing surface.

As confirmed in its statement, GM performed its own investigation of sunroof defects in 2015. At that time, GM was confronted with a quality issue that led to a spike in warranty claims related to sunroofs in certain 2014 and 2015 model cars. GM remedied the issue. GM’s initial data related to continuing sunroof explosions does not suggest that there is a need for a recall on sunroofs at this time, but the review is ongoing.

GM is ahead of other auto manufacturers in dealing with this issue head-on and for good reason. The Consumer Reports study indicated that approximately 70 percent of the sunroof incidents have taken place over just the last 6 years as panoramic sunroofs have become a standard feature in many vehicles. The numbers indicate that these complaints could continue to rise as consumers seek larger sunroofs in their cars.

In fact, the defective sunroofs were overwhelmingly found in a small number of auto brands – namely Kia and Hyundai- with GM claiming just a small fraction of reported incidents. When Consumer Reports alerted 18 automakers of its findings and urged safer sunroof design and a more decisive response to sunroof explosions, GM was the first automaker to take action.  

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