Laguna Hills, CA – Nov. 4, 2019 – Mercedes-Benz USA recently had to issue a recall for a number of light sport utility vehicles in its 2020 model year for issues related to mounted rear window trim bars that were installed outside of company specifications.
Altogether, nearly 13,800 vehicles were involved in the recall, all of which are believed to carry this defect. This includes the following light SUVs, all in the 2020 line:
- 10,068 GLE350 4MATICs
- 2,290 GLE450 4MATICs
- 1,148 GLS450 4MATICs
- 22 GLS580 4MATICs
- 1 GLE350
It is believed 100% of the specific vehicles in the recall carry the defect in question. Those light SUVs were identified via production records, and many have non-sequential vehicle identification numbers. However, many other vehicles sharing the same model year but which outside the recall group have trim bars that were installed properly.
Specifically, all those vehicles – each one a GLE-Class or GLS-Class light SUVs produced between Aug. 23, 2018, and Sept. 27, 2019 – have a trim bar fastening on the rear door windows that could, under certain driving conditions, separate from the vehicle entirely. While this would not pose a likely risk to the drivers of these vehicles themselves, others around them on the road could be injured or become more likely to crash as a result of such a detachment.
The issue arises due to a tolerance deviation at the supplier, and unfortunately drivers of these vehicles will not be able to detect whether their fastenings are at risk for failure.
Timeline of Events
Around mid-August of this year, Daimler Auto Group – which controls Mercedes-Benz USA – received a report of a situation in which one such rear door window fastening failure occurred on a GLE-Class light SUV. The company then began an investigation into the issue, to better understand how it began and what could happen in the event of a failure. Over the course of about six weeks, the investigation determined that the issue came at the supplier level, and it would need to be addressed in short order.
On Sept. 27, the company determined that it could not rule out this issue becoming a safety problem for the other affected vehicles, and ordered the voluntary recall at that time.
Drivers who receive the recall notice should return to an authorized Mercedes-Benz dealer. There, technicians will check the fastening on the rear door windows and, if necessary, rework them so that they once again fall within specification at no cost.
However, the company does not plan to provide any notice about pre-notice reimbursements for owners of these vehicles, as all the affected models are within warranty, given that they are in the 2020 model year. The company also noted that as of Sept. 27, the design tolerances of the parts DAG receives from the Kentucky-based supplier has changed, so no further issues of this type will occur.
Mercedes-Benz dealers were first notified of the voluntary recall on Oct. 11, and owners of these vehicles will receive their own notifications around the first week of December.
For additional information about this recall, consumers can contact Mercedes-Benz USA via phone at 1-877-496-3691, or call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236.
For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.