Are Kia’s Windshields Defective?

A collection of plaintiffs from around the United States have filed suit in California against Kia America Inc. They allege that 2020-2023 Kia Telluride vehicles contained “defective windshields,” that crack, chip and/or fracture under normal driving conditions.

The plaintiffs argue that their Telluride windshields cracked spontaneously. The plaintiffs vary with respect to their residency, ranging from New Mexico and Tennessee to Indiana and New Jersey, and additional states.

They write in the complaint that there was no observable impact and that cracks occurred under normal driving conditions. They allege that this wouldn’t happen with a non-defective windshield. The plaintiffs say the defect impairs their visibility, and prevents them from safely and reliably using their vehicles. Additionally, the plaintiffs argue that the alleged defect can affect the function of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

For example, Plaintiff Margaret Ritzler tells the court that she purchased her 2022 Kia Telluride in July 2021 from an authorized dealership in New Mexico. Prior to the purchase, Ritzler says she was told by the dealership that the vehicle came with a limited warranty and was “free from defects of workmanship.”

However, upon walking to her vehicle in August 2021, Ritzler says she found a crack in her windshield. She says she noticed no impact damage. Ritzler was then told by the dealership that the limited warranty would not cover the windshield, landing her with a replacement bill for more than $1,000. Furthermore, Ritzler says it took five months to receive her new windshield, and that she was forced to drive with the ever-worsening crack until that time.

Just one month later, Ritzler says her replacement windshield also suffered from the defect, and that once again no impact damage could be seen. She adds that she was then forced once more to pay out-of-pocket for her windshield.

The plaintiffs say that Kia sent a letter advertising a “customer satisfaction initiative” in November 2019, in which the vehicle manufacturer said it would replace defective windshields in some scenarios as a “goodwill gesture.” However, the plaintiffs say that not all owners of the class vehicles received the correspondence.

The plaintiffs argue that the letter sent to customers shows that Kia was aware of the “defect” as early as 2019. That’s before any of the case’s plaintiffs purchased their Tellurides, the complaint continues. Plaintiffs say the vehicle manufacturer also would have known based on pre-production testing, internal reports from Kia dealerships, complaints made with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and more.

Plaintiffs allege breach of implied and expressed warranties, and a number of state-specific causes of action. The plaintiffs demand a trial by jury.

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