Laguna Hills, Calif., January 9, 2019 – Mercedes Benz USA, LLC is recalling certain 2001-2011 vehicles from a range of lines. Many of these vehicles have sliding roof panels that have become less adhesive, leaving the panel at risk of detaching from the vehicle and causing injury.
The estimated number of affected vehicles is 744,852, although as few as 2% of those vehicles may have the defect.
According to Mercedes Benz, the bonding between the roof glass panel and the sliding roof frame may have deteriorated, resulting in the glass panel coming detached in extreme circumstances. The issue mostly occurred in the production of some vehicles from January 16, 2006 to August 21, 2006. A review by the components supplier, Webasto Roof and Components SE, revealed a change of production methods starting August 22, 2006. As a result, vehicles using components that were manufactured from that day forward are believed to be free of the defect.
The list of potentially impacted vehicles is long and includes the C32, C55, C320, C230, C240, C280, C350, CLS63, CLS500, CLS550, CLK320, CLK500, E55, E63, E280, E300, E320, E350, E450, E500, E550 lines across several model years.
The exact cause of the issue remains unclear.
Timeline of Events
In December 2017, Mercedes Benz began performing initial investigations of the sliding roof panel on certain model years after a series of isolated field reports from outside the U.S. No damage or injuries had been reported as a part of these field reports. The panels that were involved in each field report were retrieved and analyzed by Mercedes Benz, as well as Webasto Roof and Components SE, and an outside laboratory. These tests came back with inconclusive results.
To continue research, Mercedes Benz searched the global used car market for more sliding roof panels, since none of the affected models were still in production at Mercedes Benz facilities. In November, 2018, three sliding panels were procured and tested. One of those panels was defective due to the lack of cohesion.
Affected owners can bring their vehicles into a certified Mercedes Benz dealer to have their glass panel bonding checked, free of charge. In situations where a dealer finds that the bonding has become less adhesive, they will replace the entire sliding roof panel. Components that will need to be replaced include the sliding sunroof, front blinds, blind on glass and trim.
If owners have already taken their vehicle in for repairs on this issue previous to the recall, they may be eligible for a reimbursement from Mercedes Benz. Requests for reimbursement should include information about the parts, labor, fees and taxes. Reimbursements are capped off at the amount that the repair would have cost if it were performed by a certified Mercedes Benz dealer.
As a part of the recall, Mercedes Benz will be required to submit six consecutive quarterly status reports to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with the first report due within 30 days of the end of the quarter. In addition, given the extensive length of time between the production of the first defective vehicle and the first field report, Mercedes Benz will be required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop a plan for vehicles that are currently not defective may be become so in the future.
Mercedes Benz dealers were notified of the voluntary recall on December 27, 2019. The company plans to notify affected owners on February 14, 2020.
For more information on this and other recalls, visit www.motorsafety.org.