Volume 10, Issue 2 - March/April 2008

Off the Line
OEM news from Detroit

Mustang Adds a Glass Roof Option

Ford Motor Co. has announced that it will celebrate the 45th anniversary year of its Mustang by adding a factory-installed glass roof to the vehicle.

The new glass roof will be available as an option on both the V-6 Mustang and Mustang GT beginning this summer.

“As the automotive landscape becomes increasingly competitive, features such as a panoramic glass roof will help differentiate our products from the competition,” says Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president, global product development. Mustang’s glass roof is made from tinted, laminated glass. A manual roller blind is built into the sunroof as well, allowing owners to further control exposure as necessary.

The glass also features a layer of vinyl to reduce noise, vibration and harshness. Glass-roof Mustangs will be assembled at the Automotive Alliance International plant in Flat Rock, Mich. The glass will be installed at Ford’s adjacent vehicle personalization facility. 

Firefighters Report Difficulty on Breaking Glass in Mercedes
A firefighter in Fairfax, Va., who spoke to AGRR magazine/glassBYTEs.com™ on the condition of anonymity, advised that his crew recently had extreme difficulty in breaking the windows on a Mercedes that had been T-boned (hit by another car on the side of the vehicle). The vehicle, from which the crew was trying to extract a passenger trapped inside, appeared to have laminated sidelites resistant to breakage as the crew tried to make its way into the vehicle.

“Unfortunately, no one trained us beforehand that this would be coming out,” he says of the sidelites, which are relatively new in the market.

While the firefighter notes that the vehicle actually was more secure for the injured due to the laminated sidelites, he advises that it took the crew two minutes, as opposed to a norm of 15 seconds, to break into the vehicle to extract the person.

Once the crew discovered it couldn’t break the windshield or sidelites as usually is the case, they tried to saw through them.

“We were thinking instead of cutting it out we could saw through it, but melted the laminate and gummed up the saw. The friction was melting the laminate,” he says. Eventually, the crew cut out all of the windows utilizing a tool they refer to as “the Glass Master” in order to extract the patient. Both the front and side airbags had deployed on the vehicle.

While the firefighter was uncertain of the exact type of Mercedes involved in the incident, he says the experience was an eye-opening one for him and others involved.

“We’re going to start training and preparing [for this type of thing],” he says.

Rob Moran, manager of product communications for Mercedes-Benz, says the company actually provides demonstrations to fire departments across the country for issues such as this. “We work pretty closely with municipal fire departments all over the country to do demos on new cars for extrication,” he says. Without knowing the exact make of the car, Moran notes that it is difficult to tell what occurred in this situation, but that the company’s 2007 S-Class is equipped with double-laminated glass sidelites, along with a good deal of light-alloy steel—and instructions for rescue workers who come in contact with the vehicle

.“We actually put on the windshield itself diagrams that show rescue workers how to cut the windshield away. That’s the only car I know of that uses that diagram,” he says. 

Mercedes Recalls $500K 2008 SLR McLaren Roadster for Faulty Windshield Installs
Mercedes-Benz USA LLC has recalled the 2008 SLR McLaren Roadster, noting that the windshields were not installed correctly and that either the primer or activator was missing at the time of installation, according to Mercedes spokesperson Rob Moran. The company warns that in a crash, the windshield in these vehicles may not be retained. 

The vehicle, which usually is priced at around $500,000, according to Moran, was manufactured in very limited numbers, and Moran says there are only two of these vehicles in the United States. He was uncertain how many were distributed throughout the rest of the world, but notes that the McLaren Roadster is manufactured at a plant in Woking, England. 

The issue was discovered during production of the vehicle. Moran says he is uncertain whether the error was one of human or mechanical issue. 

“The car has a lot hand-finishing on it,” he told AGRR magazine/glassBYTEs.com™. “It’s mostly hand-built.” Moran says the owner of the vehicles were informed by mail.

The NHTSA announcement says that the vehicles should be returned to the dealers, who will remove the windshields and will re-install properly.

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