Hyundai Motor on Sunday confirmed a report that it had reached a tentative settlement with plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit in the US over panoramic sunroofs that shattered suddenly, although the company said the decision did not mean its automobiles were defective.
The class-action suit was filed in 2015 in the US District Court for the Central District of California.
Hyundai car owners there complained that Sonata, Tucson, Santa Fe, Veloster, Elantra GT, Azera and Genesis models produced on different occasions between 2010 and 2016 had defective sunroofs that shattered without warning.
Although none of the plaintiffs had been injured, they argued that the blasting noise and the fear of what seemed to be a sudden explosion overhead posed serious safety threats to drivers. The plaintiffs alleged that Hyundai had known about the defects but concealed them from customers.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs had requested damages in the amount of $5.4 million.
Hyundai said Sunday that it had agreed to settle, but added that the same car models had been sold in other countries and had not been the subject of litigation. When asked why the situation in the US was different, a Hyundai representative suggested that stone particles could have chipped away at the sunroofs under driving conditions in the western US, or that it might be related to a more litigious culture in the US.
The settlement is subject to final approval from a federal judge, which is expected early next year, Hyundai estimated.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (email@example.com)