Jacksonville, Fla. – Nov. 14, 2017 – Mercedes Benz USA has recalled more than 3,600 vehicles potentially containing defective windshield insulation, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models, including:
- 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 and 63S AMG sport utility vehicles.
- 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 and 63S AMG coupe sport utility vehicles.
- 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG 4Matic sport utility vehicles.
- 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 300D 4Matic sport utility vehicles.
- 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 4Matic sport utility vehicles.
- 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 400 4Matic sport utility vehicles.
- 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE 550 4Matic sport utility vehicles.
- 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4Matic sport utility vehicles.
All of the vehicles referenced in this action were produced between May 4, 2016 and July 27, 2016. Mercedes engineers estimate approximately 1 percent of the recalled models come equipped with the defective features.
The affected vehicles have excess bulkhead insulation beneath their windshields. This material negatively affects windshield bonding and may inhibit the functionality of the front-passenger air bag. This poses a serious safety hazard to occupants, as they may be left unprotected in the event of a collision. That said, Mercedes has yet to receive reports connecting the defect to any accidents or injuries.
Timeline of Events
In mid-2016, engineers from Daimler AG, the multinational conglomerate that oversees Mercedes and its production processes, noticed that bulkhead insulation in one vehicle covered the vehicle identification number located on its windshield. The company immediately launched an investigation into the matter and quickly determined that excess insulation was the root cause. Later in July of that year, DAG quality assurance personnel evaluated a number of recently assembled vehicles and found that many featured the same abnormality. These models were “reworked” prior to shipment.
In October 2016, the parts supplier HP Pelzer GmbH based in Witten, Germany launched its own independent inquiry to better understand the anomaly. It soon determined that the defect stemmed from a production deviation and corrected its workflows to ensure that the problem did not appear in future vehicles. In December, DAG performed additional analysis to uncover the size of the excess insulation and better understand how it affected windshield bonding near VIN labels. The German automaker received the results in April 2017. The data showed that excess insulation may affect the windshield bonding adjacent to VIN labels.
In June, DAG conducted further tests and learned that the failed windshield bonding could inhibit passenger-side air bag functionality, creating a serious safety risk for occupants. Three months later, the car manufacturer reviewed its production records to determine how many vehicles might contain the defective bulkhead insulation. HP Pelzer did the same, and later submitted its data to DAG.
Finally, in early October, the car company initiated a voluntary safety recall.
DAG plans to direct dealers to remove the excess bulkhead insulation in affected models and rework the windshield bonding free of charge, according to a recall acknowledgement document from the NHTSA. The automaker intends to notify both dealers and owners in December. Individuals who possess vehicles involved in this safety campaign and are in need of more immediate assistance can contact Mercedes customer service representatives at (817) 496-3691. They can also reach out the NHTSA directly using its toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.