DETROIT - The federal government is investigating Kia Sorento SUVs after getting 15 complaints that the sunroofs shattered unexpectedly.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says model years 2011 through 2013 are involved in its preliminary evaluation of what NHTSA calls "sunroof Implosion."
The agency says that in 13 of the cases, the vehicle was moving when the glass shattered. No accidents have been linked to the alleged defect, but one driver reported an injury from the glass.
NHTSA investigations can lead to recalls, or they can dead-end without action if no defect is found after examining the automaker's data and specifications.
If NHTSA suspects there could be a defect, it can open an engineering analysis as the next step. That involves the car company providing more detailed information.
The step after that would be a recall. Usually an automaker by then will be convinced there is a problem and announce a voluntary recall. But NHTSA can go to federal court to force a recall if a car company resists.
Kia Motors said in a statement that in the cases it has investigated, the sunroof breakage was caused when hail or other debris hit the sunroof. The company said it is continuing to research the issue and will share its results with NHTSA.