Ford is facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of drivers who allege that the luxury panoramic sunroofs on many models can explode due to compression pressures. Panoramic sunroofs are larger than regular sunroofs. The fact that they are larger has implications for their role in structural integrity, the suit alleges. According to the complaint, filed on Sept. 15, Ford’s panoramic sunroofs are composed of tempered glass but are not thick enough. As such, they are prone to suddenly fail and shatter, the class action lawsuit alleges.
Plaintiffs compared the shattering to the sound of a gunshot. “The shattering events are so powerful that startled drivers compare it to the sound of a gunshot, after which glass fragments rain down upon the occupants of the vehicle, sometimes while driving at highway speeds,” the lawsuit states. They allege that the sunroof can explode during normal, everyday driving. “Flexing and vibration caused by ordinary driving imposes stress on the sunroof,” plaintiffs state. “In the Ford models at issue, the compromised tempered glass cannot withstand the pressures and flexing that the sunroof frame and vehicle demand, even when the vehicle is brand new or is parked and sitting still.”
The class action alleges that the following Ford models are affected: Edge from 2007–present, Flex from 2009–2016, Focus from 2009–2016, Fusion from 2010–present, Explorer from 2011–2016, F-150 from 2011–2016, Mustang from 2009–2014, Escape from 2013–2016, Transit Connect from 2014–2016, and C-Max from 2013–2016.
The suit also alleges that the following Ford Mercury and Lincoln brands are affected: Lincoln MKX from 2007–2016, Lincoln MKS from 2009–2015, Lincoln MKZ from 2013–2016, Lincoln MKT from 2010–2016, Mercury Milan from 2010–2011, and Mercury Montego from 2010–2011.
The lawsuit alleges that the panoramic sunroof is prone to shattering for several reasons. Plaintiffs say that the tempered glass is only 4mm thick, which is allegedly too thin. The suit also alleges that Ford paints the tempered glass with ceramic materials allegedly known to weaken it. Plaintiffs allege the Ford has been aware of the problem since at least 2008, citing complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Plaintiffs point to complaints where customers noted the center of their exploded sunroofs left an upward crater, allegedly a sign of pressure from the edges causing the glass to shatter. The plaintiffs say that Ford denied liability and refused to pay for the damages.