On May 10, 2018, Mercedes-Benz USA (“MBUSA”) issued a recall to dealers for its 2008-2009 Smart Fortwo Cabrio and Fortwo coupe vehicles (451 platforms) because of the risk of fire. The recall involves rear insulation mats within the engine compartment that might deform, deteriorate and loosen over time that can come into contact with the hot exhaust system resulting in a fire. In June of 2018, recall notices are expected to be sent to owners.
The recall affects approximately 42,000 vehicles with production dates between September 20, 2007, and November 2, 2009. MBUSA’s investigation found that material properties in certain areas of the insulation mats could change over time due to various factors including heat. This could then lead to sagging and reduced thermal resistance of the insulation mat. Conclusions were made that the degradation of the insulation mat installed in model years 2008 and 2009 vehicles was the root cause for the engine compartment fire incidents.
VIN numbers for affected vehicles can be searched, and other important information is available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website that was recently issued by MBUSA relating to vehicle fires.
Subrogation specialists should be on the lookout for vehicle fires involving the Mercedes 2008—2009 Smart Fortwo Cabrio and Fortwo coupe vehicles.