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U.S. safety regulators probe shattering Kia Sorento sunroofs

DETROIT (Reuters) - U.S. safety regulators have opened an investigation into an estimated 64,117 Kia <000270.KS> Sorento sport utility vehicles after receiving 15 consumer complaints that the optional glass sunroof had shattered.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluation of the SUVs from model years 2001 to 2013 after receiving the complaints, 13 of which occurred while the vehicle was in motion, according to documents filed online.

In one case, the driver suffered minor cuts from the shattered glass, according to the NHTSA.

The NHTSA said it also had received "early warning" field report data on the issue from Kia.

Kia said it had been evaluating the performance of its panoramic sunroofs as part of a standard practice for all models.

"To date, the identified cause of investigated sunroof breakage has been debris impact or hail," the South Korean automaker said in a statement. "Kia Motors will continue to research this issue and share the results of its research information with NHTSA."

A preliminary evaluation is the first step in a process that may lead to a recall should regulators determine that a manufacturer needs to address a safety issue.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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