Mitsubishi recalls vehicles defective sunroof framing

Cypress, Calif. – Feb. 8, 2018 – Mitsubishi Motors North America has recalled more than 56,600 vehicles potentially equipped with defective sunroof framing components, according to documentation submitted to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The campaign affects multiple models, including:

  • 2008-2010 Mitsubishi Lancer sedans produced between Jan. 15, 2007, and March 3, 2010.
  • 2009-2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution sport sedans produced between Sept. 1, 2008, and Oct. 30, 2009.
  • 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback sedans produced between June 17, 2009, and Oct. 30, 2009.
  • 2007-2010 Mitsubishi Outlander sport utility vehicles produced between Sept. 8, 2006, and Nov. 3, 2009.

The automaker suspects all vehicles referenced in the action contain the defective components.

The Defect

Affected models feature improperly manufactured polyurethane sunroof frames that may degrade in humid or high temperature environments and lead to complete detachment of the sunroof glass. This poses a serious safety risk to occupants, as the falling glass could not only cause injury but also increase the likelihood of an accident. That said, Mitsubishi has not received reports connecting the defect to accidents or injuries of any kind.

Timeline of Events

Mitsubishi received a field report from the Japanese market in March 2015 detailing an instance in which the sunroof glass installed in a vehicle detached from the sunroof frame. This prompted the company to launch an investigation in collaboration with its sunroof assembly supplier, the Webasto Japan Company. Between April 2015 and December 2017, the two parties carried out detailed field investigations and performed internal tests in an effort to duplicate the outcome described in the original report.

In December 2017, Mitsubishi engineers confirmed that Webasto had changed the polyurethane material it used in its sunroof frames in 2009, switching to a more aesthetically appealing alternative that also seemed to exhibit better bonding. The report received in the March 2015 seemed to contradict this assessment and Mitsubishi deemed the material defective, postulating that it lost bonding power in hot, humid weather.

On Jan. 19, the automaker initiated a voluntary safety recall to address the problem.

The Solution

Mitsubishi intends to direct dealers to replace the sunroof assemblies in affected models free of charge, according to an NHTSA recall acknowledgment document. The company plans to notify dealers Feb. 9 and reach out to owners via first-class mail March 27.

Those in need of more immediate assistance can connect with Mitsubishi customer service personnel at (888) 648-7820. Callers should use the internal recall reference code SR-18-003. Owners can also reach out the NHTSA directly using the agency’s toll-free Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888) 327-4236.

Sean ReyesMitsubishi recalls vehicles defective sunroof framing