NHTSA launches probe on 2012 Hyundai Veloster over shattered sunroofs

Article by Anita Panait, on October 12, 2012

The Office of Defects Investigation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has commenced a preliminary investigation over consumer complaints that panoramic sunroofs installed on some 2012 Hyundai Veloster models have unexpectedly shattered or exploded. Federal safety regulators commenced the probe on October 2, 2012, after receiving 11 complaints from consumers.

Seven of the complaints mentioned that sunroofs shattered while the 2012 Veloster is being driven typically at highway speeds, according to NHTSA. Some of the consumer-complainants said they sustained minor scratches from falling shards of glass.

Jim Trainor, a spokesman for Hyundai Motor America, said the South Korean carmaker is cooperating with NHTSA, adding that the cause of the problem is unclear. Trainor remarked that the evaluation is in its early stages and there is no need for Veloster owners to have the sunroofs inspected.

The spokesman noted that NHTSA has received only 11 complaints out of the nearly 38,000 Velosters sold. The Veloster was rolled out in the US in 2011. Trainor said they are currently waiting for the results of the evaluation, adding that the carmaker would act on it if needed. The current NHTSA inquiry only covers 2012 Hyundai Velosters.

According to documents posted on the regulator’s Web site, it is estimated that 18,361 Velosters are potentially affected by the issue. According to the Automotive News Data Center, Hyundai sold 9,284 Velosters in 2011 and 28,338 more in the first nine months of 2012. Trainor said around two thirds of the Velosters sold to date were installed with panoramic sunroofs.

Looking at the profile of the new Hyundai Veloster, it clearly shows what are called the “Fluidic Sculpture” character lines. This is in addition to the features like the wraparound taillights and headlights, mirrors and door handles in body color and the strong wheel arches. Fitted as standard are the alloy 17-inch wheels though an 18-inch version, two kinds in fact, are offered as well.

This 18-inch wheel has painted inserts, the first in its segment. The rear section makes use of a dynamic design which balances out the assertive look of the front fascia. These include the lower fascia in black, chrome dual-centered exhaust tips, and unique glass hatch. As mentioned, the front has a more aggressive look and this is due to the well-known hexagonal front grille of the brand.

Helping with this impression is the detailing on the hood scoop and the distinct and trademarked LED position lights. Customers can avail of the package which adds fog lights, piano black highlights, and chrome grille surround. It even puts in a panoramic sunroof. That the Veloster has a rather unique design is no surprise as it was a high-performance sport bike that served as the inspiration.

This is why the black A-pillars result in the glass having a look similar to a visor on a motorcycle helmet. On the interior, the center stack combined with the controls has the appearance similar to the fuel tank of a sport bike. It even has a push-button starter incorporated to it. Whereas the floor console mirrors are clearly inspired by a bike’s seat, the air vents were based on the tailpipes.

All across the interior, one can observe the presence of metallic accents. On the inside as well are the alloy pedals with the shift knob and steering wheel wrapped in leather.

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