California lawsuit alleges sunroofs explode and shatter in multiple Volkswagen models.

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California lawsuit alleges sunroofs explode and shatter in multiple Volkswagen models.

— A Volkswagen exploding sunroof lawsuit alleges numerous models going back to 2004 have defects that cause the sunroofs to explode and shatter into shards of glass that injure occupants.

Included in the proposed class-action lawsuit are consumers who purchased or leased in California the following vehicles equipped with factory-installed sunroofs:

  • 2005-2017 Volkswagen Jetta
  • 2015-2017 Volkswagen Golf
  • 2006-2015 Volkswagen GTI
  • 2009-2010 Volkswagen CC
  • 2007-2016 Volkswagen Eos
  • 2006-2009 Volkswagen Rabbit
  • 2012-2017 Volkswagen Passat
  • 2004-2006 Volkswagen Touareg
  • 2011-2017 Volkswagen Touareg
  • 2008 Volkswagen R32
  • 2009-2017 Volkswagen Tiguan

Plaintiff Rosaura Deras says she leased her 2013 Volkswagen Jetta in June of 2013 and in 2017 the sunroof exploded. Deras says she was driving on the freeway when she suddenly heard a loud sound like a gunshot or explosion, followed by shards of glass falling on her head and the interior of the Jetta.

Deras says there was a large hole in the center of the sunroof and the glass edges were pointing outward and upward. The plaintiff says she wouldn't have leased and eventually purchased the Jetta if she would have known the dangers, or she would have paid substantially less for vehicle.

In addition, Deras says she had to pay for repairs even though the Jetta was allegedly within the period of the new vehicle warranty.

The lawsuit says sunroofs are an engineering challenge because of replacing metal portions of car roofs with large plates of glass, a job that requires precision in the strengthening, attachment and stabilization of the glass. But the plaintiff claims VW failed to meet these engineering challenges and chose to sell allegedly defective vehicles.

According to court documents, Volkswagen has allegedly known about the sunroof problems since at least 2009 and likely before that date because of consumer complaints. In addition, the complaint references a recall that involved sunroofs in Beetle cars.

In 2014, Volkswagen announced a recall of 7,000 model year 2015 VW Beetles to fix sunroofs that could fracture when the cars hit a pothole or traveled on a rough road. VW also said its engineers determined the Beetle sunroofs were more likely to break in cold weather and when road salt was used.

The plaintiff says rocks or other objects thrown up by cars and trucks on the roads would not impact the sunroof with enough force to cause it to shatter, let alone shatter outward. Additionally, some VW sunroofs have spontaneously shattered while the vehicles were parked.

Volkswagen also allegedly conceals the defects even while the automaker continues to receive complaints, and drivers continue to operate the vehicles unaware of the safety dangers of doing so.

One big claim of the lawsuit is how VW allegedly refuses to repair exploded sunroofs even while the vehicles are under warranty, primarily because the problem is blamed on objects hitting the glass. The plaintiff claims this has left owners and lessees with huge repair bills for a problem they believe the automaker shouldn't have let occur in the first place.

The Volkswagen exploding sunroof lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California - Rosaura Deras, et. al., v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

The plaintiff is represented by the Law Office of Robert L. Starr, APC, and the Law Office of Stephen M. Harris, APC.

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