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Flying sunroofs prompt recall

Coming unstuck: Some of the Webasto Hollandia sunroofs fitted to popular Ford and Holden models found to be faulty.

50,000 vehicles recalled in Australia over faulty sunroofs that can become unglued

7 Feb 2011

ALMOST 50,000 vehicles fitted with sunroofs with glass panels that pose a risk by becoming unglued and flying off while driving have been recalled in Australia as part of a global alert.

The Hollandia sunroofs, made by the world’s biggest sunroof and folding roof manufacturer Webasto, are subject to the voluntary recall by the German-based company, which will supply a replacement glass panel.

Glue fixing the glass to the frame has been blamed for the fault that not only affects 28,000 vehicles fitted with aftermarket sunroofs in Australia but also 14,612 Holdens and 5658 Fords with factory-fitted sunroofs.

The bonding agent apparently deteriorates over time, causing the glass to gradually separate.

Reports of sunroof glass flying off at highway speeds have been received from around the world, including Australia, over the past several years, although Webasto says it is not aware of any injuries. Luckily, many other motorists have been alerted by wind and water leaks or rust as the bonding gradually fails.

80 center imageFrom top: AH Astra, WK Caprice and Monaro.

Holden models affected by the recall are AH Astra, V2 Monaro, VX and VY Commodore, WH/WK/WL Statesman and Caprice fitted with sunroofs between 2002 and 2006.

Ford cars subject to the recall are sunroof-equipped BA and BAII Falcon, Fairlane, LTD and Ford Performance Vehicle models built between May 2002 and March 2008.

The Hollandia aftermarket sunroofs involved in the recall were fitted between 2002 and mid-2010.

Holden, Ford and Webasto all published recall advertisements in the weekend papers, saying the companies will write to owners and ask them to return to their dealer or sunroof installer to have the sunroof checked and, if necessary, the glass panel replaced.

Webasto Australia managing director Christian Mahr told GoAuto that most of the aftermarket sunroofs that are subject to the recall in Australia are the Hollandia 700 model, made in Europe. A small proportion are the American-made Hollandia 900 series twin-panel unit.

He said motorists with aftermarket Hollandia 700 or 900 sunroofs should go to Webasto’s special website (www.sunroofcheck.com) and click on the Australia link for more information about the recall.

The site shows car owners how to identify affected sunroofs and provides a number to call for owners who need to have their sunroof serviced (1800 450 755).

Ford owners with factory-fitted sunroofs in models within the affected range can contact their dealer or Ford’s Customer Relationship Centre on 1800 503 673.

Holden said its owners should contact their dealer to make an appointment for inspection and rectification.

Similar recall notices have been posted in North America, Europe, South Africa, South America and China by Webasto.

Claiming to be one of the top 100 global automotive suppliers, 110-year-old Webasto is based in Munich with sales operations in more than 50 countries and manufacturing plants in 30 nations.

It delivered its first folding fabric roof in 1932 – for a bus – and made its first steel sunroof for Daimler-Benz in 1956.

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