The Truth About Cars » Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:34:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/government-news-blog/ NHTSA Orders Takata To Recall Airbags By December 2 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951985 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata to conduct a nationwide recall of its airbags, while Honda was found to have issued Takata-related recalls as early as 2002. Reuters learned the automaker called back 2,686 vehicles — including the 2000 Honda Accord and Acura TL — in March of 2002, citing a November […]

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2000 Acura TL

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata to conduct a nationwide recall of its airbags, while Honda was found to have issued Takata-related recalls as early as 2002.

Reuters learned the automaker called back 2,686 vehicles — including the 2000 Honda Accord and Acura TL — in March of 2002, citing a November 2001 report from a dealer who witnessed an “improper deployment” of a Takata airbag in an Accord. The incident prompted both the automaker and the supplier to investigate, leading to the recall months later.

The recall, which focused on passenger airbags deploying due to improper welds, could further plunge Honda into hot water with federal regulators, especially since Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek testified before Congress that the first time his employer had known of an airbag failure was in 2004. The NHTSA is “actively investigating” the automaker presently, using information going back to 1998 in so doing.

The agency also formally issued an order to Takata to declare a nationwide recall by December 2 of the driver-side airbags at-fault for a number of injuries and fatalities due to catastrophic failure upon deployment. Per Bloomberg, should the supplier fail to meet the deadline, the NHTSA will force the recall, and fine the company $7,000 for every violation found. Takata representative Toyohiro Hishikawa said the company’s execs were discussing how best to respond to the letter.

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Takata, Honda Under Government Spotlight At Home http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951465 Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota. Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe […]

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Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota.

Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe Honda’s reporting errors in the United States, where 1,729 injury and/or death claims weren’t reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2003 and 2014.

Regarding the errors, Honda President Takanobu Ito reiterated that his company misunderstood the the responsibility it was supposed to take in reporting said claims to the agency, that management made several mistakes in filing procedure.

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Online Publication Believes Tesla Is Under SEC Investigation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/online-publication-believes-tesla-sec-investigation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/online-publication-believes-tesla-sec-investigation/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951433 Tesla may be under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, based upon speculation by an online publication whose modus operandi involves filing Freedom of Information Act requests. AutoblogGreen reports an online publication called Probes Reporter filed a FOIA request with the SEC about Tesla, along with a number of corporations the publication is interested […]

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2013 Tesla Model S P85 Fishing boat

Tesla may be under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, based upon speculation by an online publication whose modus operandi involves filing Freedom of Information Act requests.

AutoblogGreen reports an online publication called Probes Reporter filed a FOIA request with the SEC about Tesla, along with a number of corporations the publication is interested in learning more about.

Based on the responses received, the publication reads the tea leaves to determine if the SEC is investigating a given company. The request regarding Tesla was denied per a letter from the agency, citing the “law enforcement exemption” aspect of FOIA as the reason. Thus, Probes Reporter suspects Tesla is being investigated in an “undisclosed probe,” and added the company to its watch list.

As for what Tesla itself has to say, representative Liz Jarvis-Shean says her employer doesn’t comment on rumors and speculation.

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EFF: ECU Modification May Result In DMCA Notice http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/eff-ecu-modification-may-result-dmca-notice/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/eff-ecu-modification-may-result-dmca-notice/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951321 Planning to work on your new car? Pray you don’t receive a DMCA notice upon opening the hood. Per Autoblog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says modifying the ECUs’ code could be seen as an act of copyright violation should the automaker and/or the supplier decide to make it so. Thus, the non-profit is asking the […]

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Auto Repair

Planning to work on your new car? Pray you don’t receive a DMCA notice upon opening the hood.

Per Autoblog, the Electronic Frontier Foundation says modifying the ECUs’ code could be seen as an act of copyright violation should the automaker and/or the supplier decide to make it so. Thus, the non-profit is asking the U.S. Copyright Office to exempt hobbyists and shade-tree mechanics from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, specifically Section 1201 (which we’ve talked about before).

For now, modifications to the ECU, such as boosting fuel economy or horsepower, would void a given warranty at worse. As automakers continue toward the path of consolidation, though, the potential profit in the untapped remapping market would be enough for them to lock out competitors and grab all rights to the technology.

However, a ruling could curb those DMCA notices: a 2012 case involving Lexmark and printer cartridges resulted in the decision that “companies like Lexmark cannot use the DMCA in conjunction with copyright law to create monopolies of manufactured goods for themselves.” The ruling provides protection for the original work, but not to the extent of using security measures — such as those lovely, Red Book-violating CDs from the 2000s — to protect said work.

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Honda Admits Underreporting US Death, Injury Claims Since 2003 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-admits-underreporting-us-death-injury-claims-since-2003/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-admits-underreporting-us-death-injury-claims-since-2003/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950929 Due to its narrow interpretation of the TREAD Act, Honda admitted to underreporting the number of claims linked to injuries and/or deaths caused by safety issues in its products since 2003. Automotive News reports 1,729 claims — including eight related to the Takata airbag recall crisis — went unreported thanks to a combination of said […]

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Due to its narrow interpretation of the TREAD Act, Honda admitted to underreporting the number of claims linked to injuries and/or deaths caused by safety issues in its products since 2003.

Automotive News reports 1,729 claims — including eight related to the Takata airbag recall crisis — went unreported thanks to a combination of said interpretation and data entry and computer programming errors when a report was made.

The admission of guilt comes from a third-party investigation’s findings in September of this year, conducted after the Center for Auto Safety accused Honda of failing to report two Takata-related incidences of death and/or injury. The results were handed over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in compliance with a special order regarding the lapse.

Honda is already making adjustments to its reporting system, adding oral and written claims to the standard reports, and will make changes to its organization methods and staffing. In the meantime, the automaker will likely face a fine of $35 million, as well as a $7,000/day fine for every day it was in violation of the TREAD Act since 2003, a fine that could exceed the NHTSA’s maximum.

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Twenty Japanese Execs Hide In Local Exile From US DOJ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/twenty-japanese-execs-hide-local-exile-us-doj/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/twenty-japanese-execs-hide-local-exile-us-doj/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950865 At present, 20 Japanese executives are charged with price-fixing by the U.S. Department of Justice. Extradition, however, is proving hard to accomplish. Automotive News reports that while most of the 20 are no longer employed by the Japanese suppliers where they once worked, at least one — Hiroya Hirose of NSK Ltd. — still has […]

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US Department of Justice

At present, 20 Japanese executives are charged with price-fixing by the U.S. Department of Justice. Extradition, however, is proving hard to accomplish.

Automotive News reports that while most of the 20 are no longer employed by the Japanese suppliers where they once worked, at least one — Hiroya Hirose of NSK Ltd. — still has his title as section head of the ball-bearing maker’s West Japan Automotive Unit, even though he has enough charges to be thrown in prison for a decade on top of a $1 million fine.

However, all 20 are still in hiding in their home country, leaving the DOJ with no option but to file extradition. In turn, the Ministry of Justice can decide to honor the request based on what punishment awaits suspects abroad compared to Japan. As the businessmen would only receive a slap on the wrist at home, the ministry won’t be too keen on complying with the requests.

That said, the 20 are stuck in Japan thanks to the indictments, as they won’t be able to find work elsewhere. Further, the indictments put the group at the top of Interpol’s radar, allowing the agency to nab any one of the execs as soon as they leave the country.

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Supply Issues Slow Takata Airbag Recall Action http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/supply-issues-slow-takata-airbag-recall-action/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/supply-issues-slow-takata-airbag-recall-action/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950777 Even if the federal government compels every automaker that uses Takata’s airbags to enter into a nationwide recall order, and even if Honda got its wish by having the government mandate every owner affected to bring their vehicles in for repair, fixing the mess created by the supplier could take as long as two years […]

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Takata Airbag Cutaway

Even if the federal government compels every automaker that uses Takata’s airbags to enter into a nationwide recall order, and even if Honda got its wish by having the government mandate every owner affected to bring their vehicles in for repair, fixing the mess created by the supplier could take as long as two years or more.

Automotive News reports Takata will increase production of replacement inflators from 300,000 per month to 450,000, an increase that could supply the entirety of the 10 million vehicles under recall in two years’ time. Meanwhile, backup from competitors AutoLiv and TRW Automotive could take that long just to have their replacements tested prior to lending aid to the supplier.

Further, some automakers — like BMW, Ford and Mazda — would have a hard time replacing Takata units with those from the other suppliers, citing design and resource issues. Should the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration find a way, however, the agency can make those automakers “to break exclusivity agreements, to share proprietary information,” per Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who reminded outgoing deputy administrator David Friedman of this fact during testimony before Congress last week.

For now, the supply bottleneck is off in the distance, mainly due to consumers not bringing in their vehicles for repairs at a clip that would strain the supply chain. That could change with a nationwide recall, however.

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Honda Calls For Compliance From Consumers Regarding Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-calls-compliance-consumers-regarding-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-calls-compliance-consumers-regarding-recalls/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949969 Just as the federal government wants Honda and Takata to fix the airbags in the former’s vehicles, Honda would like consumers to bring in said vehicles for repair. Even if it means involving the government. Bloomberg reports Honda is asking for “some support on the state level” to make consumers comply with recall orders, per […]

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Honda-Accord-USA-2001

Just as the federal government wants Honda and Takata to fix the airbags in the former’s vehicles, Honda would like consumers to bring in said vehicles for repair.

Even if it means involving the government.

Bloomberg reports Honda is asking for “some support on the state level” to make consumers comply with recall orders, per Honda North America executive vice president Rick Schostek in testimony before Congress last week. One of his suggestions would be to decline registration of a vehicle under recall until the defects were repaired, in a manner similar to emissions testing.

Schostek’s suggestions have found support from the likes of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the Center for Auto Safety, with Nissan stating it was too early to comment, and General Motors, Toyota and Ford remaining silent thus far.

At present, automakers are required to notify the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of any problems a model may be experiencing, while owners aren’t required to do anything.

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US Data Privacy Guidelines Not Compatible With Euro Privacy Laws http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/us-data-privacy-guidelines-compatible-euro-privacy-laws/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/us-data-privacy-guidelines-compatible-euro-privacy-laws/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949937 Just as with emissions and headlamps, standards recently adopted in the United States regarding consumer data and privacy won’t be compatible elsewhere, specifically in Europe. Per Automotive News Europe, Stephan Appt, legal director of Munich, Germany-based international law firm Pinsent Masons, says the standards developed by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of […]

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connected car

Just as with emissions and headlamps, standards recently adopted in the United States regarding consumer data and privacy won’t be compatible elsewhere, specifically in Europe.

Per Automotive News Europe, Stephan Appt, legal director of Munich, Germany-based international law firm Pinsent Masons, says the standards developed by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers to both handle said data and ensure privacy “are a step in the right direction,” but aren’t enough for European authorities.

Issues concerning the standards — which were agreed upon earlier this month by BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen — include vague and broad statements within the framework, as well as consumers giving “implicit consent to allow data processing based (upon) their mere usage of vehicle technologies and services,” an act that would run afoul of European privacy standards.

Appt added that support for the guidelines shows that automakers “are taking the issue of protecting driver data seriously enough to put aside their differences and collaborate,” and hopes those in Europe would do the same to mitigate risk in violating local privacy laws.

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NHTSA, USDOT Demand National Recall Action From Takata, Automakers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-usdot-demand-national-recall-action-takata-automakers/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949217 While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity […]

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While we were looking over the latest and greatest from the 2014 LA Auto Show, the Takata band played on.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both calling for a national recall of all vehicles with Takata’s airbags, citing a catastrophic failure of a module outside the high-humidity zone previously established in an earlier recall.

The NHTSA also issued a General Order to the airbag supplier and 10 automakers — BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota — requiring all to submit documents regarding “completed, ongoing or planned testing” of the supplier’s inflators outside of the current recall zone, with the goal of having all involved come correct with the agency and the American public about what they all plan to do about the airbags. Takata alone received a Special Order, regarding the propellent used in its airbags.

Responses to both orders are due by December 5.

Three of the 10 automakers involved with the General Order — Ford, GM and Honda — may likely have the hardest time replacing Takata completely. Per Bloomberg, the trio worked closely with the supplier to develop special features for their vehicles — Ford’s Adaptive Steering system, GM’s front center airbags — features that would take a while to work out with a new supplier if a deeper relationship were to take hold.

Meanwhile, only 6 percent of the 8 million vehicles equipped with Takata’s airbags have been repaired thus far, a rate critics of the supplier and its client base find appalling. The pace isn’t likely to quicken, however; Toyota says it would take a year at minimum to test and replace its units with those from other suppliers, while Nissan said doing the same for itself wasn’t feasible.

Returning to the Beltway, Reuters reports Takata had presented documents to the NHTSA linked to a 2009 accident involving its airbags, only for the agency to decline, as it had closed its investigation on the supplier and Honda, whose vehicle was involved in said accident. The NHTSA informed the news agency that the documents “would not have added to the agency’s understanding of the issues involved in that particular investigation.”

Speaking of Honda, senior executive Rick Schostek admitted before Congress that his company failed to notify the NHTSA or its customer base about the issues with Takata’s airbags, promising to offer consumers a loaner if their affected vehicles are repaired quickly due to supply shortages. As for Takata’s Hiroshi Shimizu, Automotive News says he went on the defensive, going so far as to claim that it was “hard” for him to “answer yes or no” to several questions asked by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, much to the dismay and bemusement of the committee members.

Prior to the call for a nationwide recall, the regional-specific actions, as well as the NHTSA’s order to consumers to have their airbags replaced immediately, contributed to public anxiety over whether or not the airbag before them would disfigure or kill in an accident. According to Bloomberg, Takata itself believes a national recall would only further exacerbate those fears, potentially diverting resources “from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reports the Monclova, Mexico facility where the defective units were assembled had issues from the moment it opened its doors in 2000. Aside from the units made in 2001, 2002 and 2012, an explosion in 2006 — one some workers claim was fueled by the same ammonium nitrate used in Takata’s airbags as a propellent — jump-started a production run where quality slipped against hourly quotas. Whether the top brass knew of the problems, however, is a different story, as it never sent permanent staff to Mexico from its headquarters in Japan.

Over in Germany, BMW is working with the supplier to have its airbags made closer to home in Freiberg, transferring production from Mexico. The move only applies to BMW, who expects additional production to come online by mid-December. Alternative arrangements would take two years and “divert attention from current recall efforts,” per the automaker.

Finally, U.S. Air Force First Lieutenant Stephanie Erdman gave her testimony before Congress, detailing what had happened to her when a vehicle turned in front of her 2002 Honda Civic in September 2013. According to The Detroit News, the resulting injuries and ongoing surgeries led to a lawsuit against Honda, whose certified dealership in Destin, Fla. failed to notify Erdman of the February 2010 driver’s side airbag recall or what would happen if the airbag deployed in the wrong conditions, nor did the dealership replace the unit in question. She also feared that once the spotlight subsides on Takata et al, the problems would still be there, and urged Congress to continue to hold all accountable for their actions.

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Accuracy Issues Real Reason For Free Hydrogen For FCV Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/accuracy-issues-real-reason-free-hydrogen-fcv-owners/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949129 Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen. According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States […]

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Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell owners will be able to refuel their new FCVs for free for three years, but only because it’s hard to put a price on hydrogen.

According to Autoblog, a seminar held at the Mirai launch regarding hydrogen revealed the fueling stations currently in place in the United States aren’t able to accurately measure how much hydrogen is pumped into a given vehicle. Without that accuracy, no FCV owner can be charged for the fuel, a problem the California Air Resources Board is working to fix. Deputy Executive Officer Alberto Ayala explains:

If you think about it, it’s a real simple yet real practical challenge. If you’re going to pay for X amount of hydrogen, you’re actually getting that amount of hydrogen… We are at a point where we are solving multiple remaining questions [with hydrogen infrastructure], and that just happens to be one of them.

National Fuel Cell Research Center director Scott Samuelsen adds that this was once the issue with gasoline, with agencies like California’s Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Weights and Measures setting standards for fuel pumps, then routinely inspecting said pumps to ensure they remained accurate. Once “the right meter” to measure hydrogen is in place, the new consumer fuel source would fall in line.

A solution to this problem is expected to arrive within a year’s time at the latest.

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Obama Nominates Rosekind To Top NHTSA Post http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/obama-nominates-rosekind-top-nhtsa-post/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/obama-nominates-rosekind-top-nhtsa-post/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949105 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may have finally found its new administrator. Autoblog reports President Barack Obama nominated National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind to the agency’s top post. Rosekind served on the NTSB for four years, where he focused on accident investigations, impaired driving and fatigue concerns. He also directed NASA’s Fatigue […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration may have finally found its new administrator.

Autoblog reports President Barack Obama nominated National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind to the agency’s top post. Rosekind served on the NTSB for four years, where he focused on accident investigations, impaired driving and fatigue concerns. He also directed NASA’s Fatigue Countermeasures Program, and headed the space agency’s aviation operations branch in flight management and human factors division.

Rosekind would replace deputy administrator David Friedman, whose 10-month tenure has been fraught with accountability issues regarding the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall, as well as the ongoing Takata airbag recall crisis.

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Arizona AG Files $3B Lawsuit Against GM Over Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/arizona-ag-files-3b-lawsuit-gm-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/arizona-ag-files-3b-lawsuit-gm-ignition-recall/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949089 Going its own way, Arizona has filed a $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors over the February 2014 ignition switch recall. The New York Times reports Arizona attorney general Thomas C. Horne threw down the lawsuit Wednesday, alleging the automaker defrauded the state’s consumers through advertising, public statements and its website. In so doing, Horne […]

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Recalled GM ignition switch

Going its own way, Arizona has filed a $3 billion lawsuit against General Motors over the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

The New York Times reports Arizona attorney general Thomas C. Horne threw down the lawsuit Wednesday, alleging the automaker defrauded the state’s consumers through advertising, public statements and its website. In so doing, Horne and Arizona are going it alone, breaking off from a group of 48 states pursuing a multi-state investigation into the recall; Arizona was on the executive committee of said investigation:

We’re proceeding with our own suit because it’s the best way to protect the citizens of Arizona. General Motors represented that it was taking care of the safety of its cars, and in fact there were serious defects that it did not disclose to the public for years.

The suit also asserts some of GM’s senior execs — including CEO Mary Barra — knew of the defects at the same time as those below their status. Arizona is fining the automaker $10,000 per vehicle found in violation of state statutes, totalling $3 billion for 300,000 units.

For its part, GM vows to fight the suit, proclaiming it “misrepresents the facts” behind the performance of its vehicles, as well as its commitment to the safety of its customer base.

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Honda To Replace Takata Airbags Nationwide If Consumers Complain http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-replace-takata-airbags-nationwide-consumers-complain/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-replace-takata-airbags-nationwide-consumers-complain/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946634 Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question. In a statement made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month, The Detroit News reports Honda will replace units nationwide if its customer base complains, […]

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Worried that the airbag in your Honda may shred your face instead of saving it? Complain loud enough, and the automaker will replace the unit in question.

In a statement made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration earlier this month, The Detroit News reports Honda will replace units nationwide if its customer base complains, despite being limited at the moment to the 2.8 million under recall in high-humidity states, whose Takata airbag modules are at-risk for catastrophic failure:

It is our practice to repair these vehicles outside of these regions at the request of concerned customers. Additionally, we have a customer service procedure that addresses our individual customer needs and concerns and encompasses, as appropriate, the replacement of air bag inflators and the provision of or reimbursement for temporary alternative transportation.

Representative Chris Martin explained the move wasn’t made to bring in vehicles that were “secretly included” in the recall, but give peace of mind to those who own vehicles outside the recall effort. He added that a similar statement was posted on the automaker’s owner’s website, explaining to consumers of “certain” vehicles could bring in their cars for new airbags “as appropriate,” along with reimbursement for temporary transportation needs. Martin closed by stating Honda had “no reason to believe that there is a concern” for similar issues with the airbags outside of the recall area.

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Tesla Fights Georgia Dealers Over Direct Sales Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946194 Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales. Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia […]

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tesla-store-opening-in-westfield-mall-london-oct-2013_100444200_l

Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association in late August of 2014, demands Tesla sell its Model S and other models through a franchise network, the automaker’s alleged violation of the Georgia Motor Vehicles Franchise Practices Act serving as the foundation for said petition. Tesla, of course, said that wasn’t the case:

GADA’s arguments rely on a wholesale misapplication of the FPA. The FPA only regulates conduct between franchisors and their affiliated franchisees, and does not apply to Tesla, which has no franchisees.

GADA also asserts that Tesla cannot directly sell to the public because of another cited statute — one that allows direct sales only if a given vehicle is “manufactured or assembled in accordance with custom-design specifications of the customer” — proclaiming Tesla offers no such thing to its customers. Representative Derrick Dickey stated that his employer is eager for Tesla to follow the letter of the law, “just like every other automobile manufacturer that sells new vehicles in Georgia.

The case is expected to be heard in court early next month. Until then, Tesla will continue to sell directly to the public under an exemption for ZEV models, which currently limits a given automaker to just 150 per year.

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Takata Chairman In Hiding, Mexican Plant Increasing Airbag Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-chairman-hiding-mexican-plant-increasing-airbag-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-chairman-hiding-mexican-plant-increasing-airbag-production/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945033 Takata’s chairman goes missing amid the company’s airbag recall crisis; the company boosts production of replacement modules at its Mexico plant; and the United States Senate plans to hold hearings regarding the airbag recalls, while also demanding a full reform of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the agency’s role in both Takata’s and […]

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Takata Car Seats

Takata’s chairman goes missing amid the company’s airbag recall crisis; the company boosts production of replacement modules at its Mexico plant; and the United States Senate plans to hold hearings regarding the airbag recalls, while also demanding a full reform of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the agency’s role in both Takata’s and General Motors’ respective recalls.

Autoblog reports Takata chairman and CEO Shigesha Takada — whose grandfather founded the company he currently helms — has not been seen since June of this year, giving only a published statement that Takata would work with authorities regarding the defective airbags. Takada won’t be turning up anytime soon, either; the company plans to send COO and president Stefan Stocker to an upcoming analyst briefing in place of the missing chair.

South of the border, Automotive News reports the supplier is adding two new production lines at its Monclova, Mexico facility to help boost supplies of replacement modules. The new lines are expected to go online in January, contributing to the 1.47 million units expected to ship out by February. Takata recently called upon competitors Autoliv and TRW Automotive to help with the production, though that could take months while the suppliers build, test and validate their respective contributions for use by Takata’s client base.

Over in the Beltway, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will hold its first Takata hearing next Thursday, which will include testimony by the supplier, Honda and the NHTSA. The supplier also stated that it had received a subpoena from a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, ordering it to produce documents related to the airbag recalls. This is in addition to the NHTSA’s own request for documents, which must be answered by December 1.

Speaking of the NHTSA, Edmunds reports Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Bill Nelson of Florida sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday, urging him to initiate a full reform of the agency:

NHTSA must alter its practices to require automakers to publicly release more information about accidents that could be caused by safety defects, upgrade its own safety databases, and do a better job of enforcing compliance with transparency measures intended to provide early warnings about potentially danger defects to the public.

The senators are calling for an end to regional recalls in light of the Takata action, citing that affected vehicles could move into and out of regions where high humidity — the condition needed for catastrophic failure to occur — is prevalent, as well as for safety regulators to pull potentially dangerous vehicles “off the road,” such as those affected by the respective recalls by Toyota, General Motors and Takata.

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Detroit Three Contribute $26M To Detroit Grand Bargain Fundraiser http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/detroit-three-contribute-26m-detroit-grand-bargain-fundraiser/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/detroit-three-contribute-26m-detroit-grand-bargain-fundraiser/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944713 As part of the overall strategy of lifting Detroit out of bankruptcy, the Detroit Three have signed on to provide the Detroit Institute of Arts with a $26 million contribution to be distributed over the next 20 years. Detroit Free Press reports Ford and General Motors each contributed $10 million, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles threw […]

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Detroit-Bankruptcy-Art-5

As part of the overall strategy of lifting Detroit out of bankruptcy, the Detroit Three have signed on to provide the Detroit Institute of Arts with a $26 million contribution to be distributed over the next 20 years.

Detroit Free Press reports Ford and General Motors each contributed $10 million, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles threw in $6 million to the pot. Toyota added $1 million, and a group of suppliers gave the museum $2.2 million.

The total contributions made up part of the $100 million DIA had sought for its part of a grand bargain fundraising effort at the center of Detroit’s restructuring plan, an effort totalling $816 million that would go to reduce employee pension cuts and save the museum’s collection from the auction block.

The Detroit Three’s contribution took some time to work out, as their respective charitable foundations normally commit to one-time and short-term donations. Thus, the trio came together to meet with other foundations to understand how best to go about throwing down for the cause, as well as with Judge Gerald Rosen, the judge who helped put the grand bargain together. By April, Ford committed its $10 million, with GM and its foundation splitting their contribution, and FCA directly adding its $6 million.

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GM Discloses More Fatalities, Faces Questions Amid Email Revelation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-discloses-fatalities-faces-questions-amid-email-revelation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-discloses-fatalities-faces-questions-amid-email-revelation/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944553 General Motors disclosed more deaths linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall in its quarterly report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but more headaches await the automaker as the spotlight focuses on CEO Mary Barra’s actual role in the recall in the first place. According to Automotive News, GM reported 47 deaths […]

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General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

General Motors disclosed more deaths linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall in its quarterly report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but more headaches await the automaker as the spotlight focuses on CEO Mary Barra’s actual role in the recall in the first place.

According to Automotive News, GM reported 47 deaths and 614 injuries linked to the ignition switch at the center of the recall. The breakdown this quarter is as follows:

  • Chevrolet Cobalt: 302 injuries, 26 deaths
  • Chevrolet HHR: 122 injuries, five deaths
  • Saturn Ion: 56 injuries, seven deaths

The overall total linked to the ignition issue thus far comes to 975 crashes, 1,101 injuries and 69 deaths, most occurring within the past several years.

As for the recall, the recently revealed email exchange between GM and supplier Delphi in December 2013 over a parts order of 500,000 switches — two months prior to the recall action — further showed the communication breakdown that has kept the automaker and those affected by its actions in the spotlight for most of this year. The emails weren’t a part of the Valukas report, and would have remained unknown to all but the attorneys fighting the automaker in class-action cases if a judge ruled in favor of keeping the documents confidential.

Regarding where Barra was, she and other senior GM brass all maintain that they didn’t know about the seriousness at-hand until the end of January. Barra had been the company’s executive vice president of product development, purchasing and supply chain prior to becoming CEO January 15. Further, the exchange was between mid-level employees — specifically a contract employee named Sarah Missentzis — and the supplier, suggesting that Barra still wasn’t told about the problem due to where she was in the chain of command.

That said, the automaker still had a responsibility to alert consumers to, at minimum, unload their keyrings to prevent the slipping issues affecting the switches, according to attorney Robert Hilliard, the attorney who fought to have the emails go public:

Part of the recall was to tell customers to take weight off the key chain. Why delay telling customers that?

For its part, GM said the emails were “further confirmation” that its reporting system “needed reform,” an issue that the automaker has gone to great pains to correct, per representative Alan Adler.

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NYC Lowers Speed Limit To 25 MPH For Safety Reasons http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nyc-lowers-speed-limit-25-mph-safety-reasons/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nyc-lowers-speed-limit-25-mph-safety-reasons/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 12:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943969 Sammy Hagar may not be able to drive 55, but thanks to new legislation limiting rate of travel in New York City to 25 mph, the Red Rocker would be dying to hit the double nickel. WCBS-TV reports the new limit will affect all streets where no other limit exists, with the first 89 of […]

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NYC 25 MPH Limit Legislation

Sammy Hagar may not be able to drive 55, but thanks to new legislation limiting rate of travel in New York City to 25 mph, the Red Rocker would be dying to hit the double nickel.

WCBS-TV reports the new limit will affect all streets where no other limit exists, with the first 89 of approximately 3,000 signs going up at “key gateways to the city,” per NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. An NYC DOT representative added that the stop lights would be recalibrated to reflect the new change.

The move comes on the order of Mayor Bill de Blasio — inspired by pedestrian fatalities linked to speeding — and is part of his “Vision Zero” plan aimed at reducing traffic deaths. Trottenberg stated the reduction would “cut in half” the chances an accident would be fatal, citing research to back up her claim.

While some of the city’s denizens applaud the move, others believe the 25-mph limit is a money grab — $150 ticket if pulled over, $50 if caught by automated law enforcement — and doesn’t change much in the way people drive as it is.

The last time 25 mph was the law was 50 years ago, when the New York Legislature raised it to 30 mph.

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GM Parts Order Center Of New Evidence Surrounding Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-parts-order-center-new-evidence-surrounding-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-parts-order-center-new-evidence-surrounding-ignition-recall/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=943945 Just when you thought the meat of the story had long since been consumed, a lovely roast was just delivered courtesy of an email chain between General Motors and Delphi regarding a large order of parts months ahead of the February 2014 ignition switch recall. According to The Wall Street Journal, the chain occurred nearly […]

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A recalled Chevy Cobalt ignition switch is seen at Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch

Just when you thought the meat of the story had long since been consumed, a lovely roast was just delivered courtesy of an email chain between General Motors and Delphi regarding a large order of parts months ahead of the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the chain occurred nearly a year ago in mid-December 2013, when GM ordered 500,000 replacement switches from its supplier a day after senior execs discussed the issue surrounding the Chevrolet Cobalt. The automaker also asked for an aggressive timetable between production and delivery.

The emails come from a discovery order linked to a case currently being heard in New York, led by attorney Bob Hilliard. While Delphi and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both declined to talk about them, GM representative Alan Adler said his company followed protocol in submitting a complete timeline regarding the recall, and “wasn’t required to disclose details of a parts order.”

The emails also don’t appear in the 315-page Valukas report, the results of the independent investigation led by attorney Anton Valukas. Valukas stated that he was hired by GM to only look for why the recall didn’t happen sooner than it had, Adler adding that the automaker did not attempt to influence the investigation. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut thinks GM might as well have done as much:

This order for 500,000 parts raises deeply disturbing questions about the validity of the Valukas report, but more important, the timeline of GM’s effort to protect its car owners. The question is why the delay and how many lives were put at risk since GM waited at least two months before issuing a recall even though it had already decided to order parts?

The emails surrounding the parts order will likely be used by a number of attorneys representing numerous class-action suits, seeking damages for everything from injury and death, to loss of resale value.

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Jackson: Michigan’s Anti-Tesla Legislation “Unnecessary Protectionism” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/jackson-michigans-anti-tesla-legislation-unnecessary-protectionism/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/jackson-michigans-anti-tesla-legislation-unnecessary-protectionism/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942489 Though the anti-Tesla legislation recently signed into Michigan law is only a clarification of a previous anti-direct sales law, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson finds the whole thing as “unnecessary protectionism.” The Detroit News reports Jackson said the bill couldn’t protect Tesla, as the EV automaker had no franchises that needed protection, further proclaiming CEO Elon […]

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AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson

Though the anti-Tesla legislation recently signed into Michigan law is only a clarification of a previous anti-direct sales law, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson finds the whole thing as “unnecessary protectionism.”

The Detroit News reports Jackson said the bill couldn’t protect Tesla, as the EV automaker had no franchises that needed protection, further proclaiming CEO Elon Musk could sell his cars as he saw fit:

If Elon Musk wants to make a mistake and go with an inefficient distribution system, that’s his right as an American. Let him do it. I’m not afraid… my phone will ring someday when he really wants to sell some cars.

On the other hand, Jackson — whose franchise network consists of over 220 stores nationwide and 500,000 units sold annually — took Tesla to task for lobbying against “government intervention… and protectionism,” as the automaker’s foundation was built upon state and federal incentives all around.

Other targets in his meeting with the Detroit Economic Club Thursday included fracking, the Obama administration, and the two-pronged recall parade led by General Motors and supplier Takata. Regarding the recalls, Jackson said more government intervention is needed to better handle current and future actions.

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Report: Mercedes-Benz Biggest Manipulator Of Euro Fuel-Efficiency Test Results http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-mercedes-benz-biggest-manipulator-euro-fuel-efficiency-test-results/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-mercedes-benz-biggest-manipulator-euro-fuel-efficiency-test-results/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942473 The oft-maligned European fuel-efficiency testing cycle have produced a few manipulators, per green lobby group Transport & Environment, with Mercedes-Benz as the biggest offender. According to Automotive News Europe, T&E proclaimed the automaker’s lineup would cost an owner an additional €5,600 ($6,931 USD) in fuel over the lifetime of a vehicle. The figure comes from […]

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2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 250

The oft-maligned European fuel-efficiency testing cycle have produced a few manipulators, per green lobby group Transport & Environment, with Mercedes-Benz as the biggest offender.

According to Automotive News Europe, T&E proclaimed the automaker’s lineup would cost an owner an additional €5,600 ($6,931 USD) in fuel over the lifetime of a vehicle. The figure comes from its 2014 Mind the Gap report, which forecasts drivers will spend 1.5 times more on fuel by 2020 than they do currently:

If your new Mercedes car swallows 40 percent more fuel than the brochure promised, it’s not your heavy-footed driving. Rather it’s because Mercedes are the current leaders at manipulating the way vehicles are tested, producing official fuel economy figures in the labs that cannot be replicated in the real world.

Mercedes product strategy and planning chief Johannes Reifenrath says his employer is aware of the deviation, adding that the driver plays a massive role in how a vehicle’s fuel economy fares in the real world. Reifenrath reminded T&E and other critics that the testing procedures “are not determined by the automakers… the EU Commission defines the rules we have to play by.”

T&E’s report states the gap between the lab and the real world had grown across all brands between 2001 and 2013, leaping from 8 percent to 31 percent for private owners. The group is calling for reforms in fuel-efficiency testing, with a focus on more real-world results.

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NHTSA Orders More Documents From Honda About Takata Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-documents-honda-takata-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-documents-honda-takata-recall/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942073 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is demanding more satisfaction from Honda in as many days over the automaker’s role in the ongoing Takata airbag recall crisis, asking for more documents in a second request. Detroit Free Press reports the agency issued a 15-page special order to Honda, demanding every last document and communication the […]

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2010 Honda Civic EX-L

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is demanding more satisfaction from Honda in as many days over the automaker’s role in the ongoing Takata airbag recall crisis, asking for more documents in a second request.

Detroit Free Press reports the agency issued a 15-page special order to Honda, demanding every last document and communication the latter had with Takata about the supplier’s defective inflators, as well all internal documents about the automaker’s related recall efforts by December 15. The new request follows one made earlier this week, one with a deadline of November 24.

In a statement, Honda said it has had “regular communications with the NHTSA regarding the issues addressed in the special order,” and is fully cooperating with the agency. On the other side, NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman offered this proclamation:

We are compelling Honda to produce documents and answer questions under oath relevant to our ongoing investigation into defective air bags made by Takata. We expect Honda’s full cooperation as we work to keep the American public safe.

Takata itself is also facing the business end of the agency’s shotgun, as the supplier must answer a 36-question survey about where everything went wrong in the airbags’ production, as well as how many replacement units it made, and how quickly it can make more. The deadline for the survey is December 1.

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General Motors Stands To Lose $2B If Bankruptcy Protections Collapse http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/general-motors-stands-to-lose-2b-if-bankruptcy-protections-collapse/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/general-motors-stands-to-lose-2b-if-bankruptcy-protections-collapse/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942057 Remember all of those bankruptcy protections sought by General Motors that were made against any and all future lawsuits linked to ignition-related accidents and fatalities that occurred prior to the automaker’s exit from said bankruptcy in July 2009? Guess how much it would owe if the shield collapsed? Bloomberg reports GM could be on the […]

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GM First Day as a Public Company Celebration

Remember all of those bankruptcy protections sought by General Motors that were made against any and all future lawsuits linked to ignition-related accidents and fatalities that occurred prior to the automaker’s exit from said bankruptcy in July 2009? Guess how much it would owe if the shield collapsed?

Bloomberg reports GM could be on the hook for as much as $2 billion if federal bankruptcy judge Robert Gerber of Manhattan rules in favor of the plaintiffs of a class action aimed at bringing said shield down.

The suit calls for damages to be paid due to lost resale value as a result of the February 2014 ignition switch recall, citing alleged fraud committed by the company during the proceedings, claiming executives knew of the issues affecting a handful of models made between 2003 and 2011. Bankruptcy attorney Chip Bowles explains:

In bankruptcy, you have to disclose your assets and liabilities. Those are basic requirements — and GM didn’t do it. It would be very easy for Gerber to say, “Guess what? If you know someone is a creditor you have to give them notice. If you fail to do so, they aren’t constitutionally bound by my orders.”

The collapse would only be the beginning: Aside from the 2.2 million vehicles that could be affected, another 9.6 million vehicles suffering similar ignition woes — 90 percent of which were made prior to the July 2009 reorganization — would likely see their owners wanting a part of GM.

A ruling could be made as early as late February of 2015.

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B&B Reject Red-Light Cameras In Three States On Election Night http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/bb-reject-red-light-cameras-three-states-election-night/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/bb-reject-red-light-cameras-three-states-election-night/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=941769 Tuesday, the B&B made their voice known on the issues affecting them, including a set of referendums on the infamous red-light traffic camera. Autoblog reports voters in Cleveland and Maple Heights, Ohio, St. Charles County, Mo., and Sierra Vista, Ariz. overwhelmingly rejected the cameras on the basis that their use did more for the bottom […]

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red stop light camera

Tuesday, the B&B made their voice known on the issues affecting them, including a set of referendums on the infamous red-light traffic camera.

Autoblog reports voters in Cleveland and Maple Heights, Ohio, St. Charles County, Mo., and Sierra Vista, Ariz. overwhelmingly rejected the cameras on the basis that their use did more for the bottom line of the manufacturers than the safety of those under the electric eye.

In Cleveland, 78 percent voted to ban cameras unless law enforcement was present, while 75 percent of Sierra Vista voters ditched the technology on the outskirts of town. Meanwhile, 76 percent of voters in Maple Heights and 72 percent in St. Charles voted to ban the cameras outright.

On the other side of the issue, AAA says it’s all for the cameras, just not how they’re usually implemented. Representative Michael Green explained that while the goal of the cameras was to deter, “not to give tickets,” he could understand where implementation in certain places, such as Washington, D.C., had faltered in favor of revenue-generation and lack of transparency.

That said, usage of the cameras are falling by the wayside as is, thanks to speed cameras taking their place on the automated enforcement chain.

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