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. Sun, 30 Aug 2015 14:22:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » Government http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/government-news-blog/ Utah Man Says State Insurer (the State) Shortchanged Him http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/utah-man-says-state-insurer-state-shortchanged/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/utah-man-says-state-insurer-state-shortchanged/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154305 Matt Gephardt and KUTV in Salt Lake City have a good story about a Utah man who was hit by a state vehicle and its insurance company — which is the state itself — shortchanged him on his 1985 Mercedes-Benz SL Convertible. The car was totaled, and the state offered to pay $8,000 for the […]

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1985 Mercedes Benz SL

Matt Gephardt and KUTV in Salt Lake City have a good story about a Utah man who was hit by a state vehicle and its insurance company — which is the state itself — shortchanged him on his 1985 Mercedes-Benz SL Convertible.

The car was totaled, and the state offered to pay $8,000 for the car. Tyler Winger, who said he restored the car with his grandfather, said the car was worth $12,000 to $13,000. (He’s not completely wrong.)

Winger said the state told him that they wouldn’t budge and that he couldn’t complain to the state’s insurance oversight board since that board doesn’t have oversight over the state’s self-insurance company.

According to the report, the state’s insurer told Winger his only recourse would be to sue the state, which could cost thousands more in legal fees.

Winger opted to go through his own insurer, which gave him $11,000 for the damage and allowed him to keep the title for the car — something the state insurer wouldn’t let him do. He said he and his grandfather plan to restore the car again.

(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

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China Will Again Control Rare Metals in Hybrids, Other Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-will-control-rare-metals-hybrids-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-will-control-rare-metals-hybrids-cars/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154281 Metals found in hybrid batteries, diesel fuel and headlight glass could again be subject to China’s ever-changing rules for rare earth exports. On Wednesday, Molycorp announced that it would be suspending its mining operations of rare earth metals in California, but keep its mines in China and Estonia open for the time being. The company, […]

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2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-headlight-2

Metals found in hybrid batteries, diesel fuel and headlight glass could again be subject to China’s ever-changing rules for rare earth exports.

On Wednesday, Molycorp announced that it would be suspending its mining operations of rare earth metals in California, but keep its mines in China and Estonia open for the time being.

The company, which went public in 2011, has fallen on hard times. In June, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and slowing demand in China isn’t helping. However, without a mine in the U.S., much of the rare earth metal mined in the world could be under Chinese government purview, and that’s not good.

In 2010, China’s tightening grip of its mines and exported metals opened a hole for Molycorp to exploit. As prices skyrocketed for rare earth metals found in many parts of vehicles, so did the need for domestic production.

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Now, as a flood of illicitly obtained metals and loosened export restrictions by China reduces the value of the metal — in some cases by 50 percent, according to a Molycorp spokesman — the mining company was forced to lay off 500 workers and shutter its mine in California.

“In general, global demand for rare earths used in vehicles — particularly for the magnetic elements that go into fuel efficient vehicles, direct drive wind turbines, and energy saving home appliances — has been positive and is forecast for robust growth over the next several years. The problem is on the supply side,” said Jim Sims, spokesman for Molycorp.

That could set up a situation for automakers similar to 2010, when China severely restricted how much metal it would export and drove up the overall price. Analysts say China controls up to 95 percent of the market.

Sims also said producers in China are mining rare earth metals illicitly or without environmental impact oversight, which are making their way into cars today. According to Dudley Kingsnorth, a professor at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, up to 50 percent of rare earth magnets contain illicit material.

“The Chinese Government readily admits that this illicit production and smuggling is occurring, that it is the primary cause of weak rare earth pricing, and that they have had limited success to date in getting it in under control,” Sims said. “Even some legitimate producers in China who follow the rules and try to do right by the environment aren’t making money these days in their rare earth business.”

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Union Leader Blasts Obama on Pacific Trade Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-leader-blasts-obama-pacific-trade-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-leader-blasts-obama-pacific-trade-talks/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153377 The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with […]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Circa 2010

The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with countries such as Japan jeopardizes American jobs because those countries may be able to source cheaper parts from outside the negotiated area, according to the report.

“I hope it is not the case that the Canadian and Mexican negotiators are actually holding a harder line than our own government on this issue. But due to the unaccountable lack of transparency from USTR, absolutely critical decisions are being made without our input or voice. Thousands of good American jobs and an iconic American industry are at risk, and we don’t even know what our government’s negotiating position is.”

According to the Detroit News, a free-trade agreement with Asia would be high on Obama’s priorities before his administration ends.

Trumka said there would be no guarantee for American automakers to gain a foothold in Japan if the Trans Pacific Partnership were created.

Instead, he said, the deal would make it easier for American automakers to source cheaper parts from China and Thailand, or other developing nations, which would come at the expense of American auto workers. Under current free trade rules in North America, 62.5 percent of a car or light truck must originate within the trade zone to be tariff free. Mexico, which is currently building nearly 4 million cars a year, would like to increase that to 65 percent. Japan is proposing a 45-percent threshold for vehicles and 30 percent for parts.

The agreement could also end the 25-percent import tax on light pickups, commonly called the “Chicken Tax.”

Automakers have said they’d prefer to renew the Chicken Tax or slowly roll the tax back after years — or even decades.

According to the story, Japan doesn’t place any import tax on American-built cars, and has said they’ve spent billions building production facilities in America — which American automakers haven’t yet done in Japan.

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At This Price, Nissan Just May As Well Pay You For a New Leaf http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/price-nissan-just-may-well-pay-new-leaf/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/price-nissan-just-may-well-pay-new-leaf/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152793 I live at the crossroads of liberal and libertarian. Despite what some of you have said, I’m not Marxist (although I have read plenty of his work, along with Ayn Rand and Adam Smith, Milton Friedman followers, et al.) and economics for me qualifies as a hobby. Therefore, the economy of how Colorado just made the Nissan […]

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2011 Nissan LEAF

I live at the crossroads of liberal and libertarian. Despite what some of you have said, I’m not Marxist (although I have read plenty of his work, along with Ayn Rand and Adam Smith, Milton Friedman followers, et al.) and economics for me qualifies as a hobby.

Therefore, the economy of how Colorado just made the Nissan Leaf one of the least expensive new cars in America is fascinating.

Right now, Leaf buyers in Colorado can receive the following perks: a $7,500 federal rebate, around $5,000 back from the state of Colorado, and $5,000 from Nissan if you finance your purchase through them. (Georgia, West Virginia and Connecticut are pretty high as well.)

All told, that’s $17,500 back in Colorado on a car that starts at $29,860 ($850 destination included) and your price — before negotiations with the dealer — is $12,360, if your shirt is starched, teeth are white and you max out rebates.

I called up a local Nissan dealer to confirm the details and after a little bit of checking (and a lot of trying to sell me on a lease) she confirmed I could score a Nissan for severely cheap.

FYI: A Mitsubishi Mirage starts at $12,995.

The financing rebate ends at the end of August, and Colorado’s $6,000 incentive (which is the highest in the nation) can’t last forever.

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Eisenhower Did Just About the Worst Damn Road Trip, Ever http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/well-just-worst-damn-road-trip-ever/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/well-just-worst-damn-road-trip-ever/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 19:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152521 Atlas Obscura has a fine, fine retelling of former President Dwight Eisenhower’s treacherous slog across the U.S. in 1919, presumably before Google Maps could tell him where to go. His 62-day, transcontinental epoch may have served as inspiration for the creation of America’s interstate highway system — not the threat of a nuclear attack and evacuation […]

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98_3_70 Atlas Obscura has a fine, fine retelling of former President Dwight Eisenhower’s treacherous slog across the U.S. in 1919, presumably before Google Maps could tell him where to go.

His 62-day, transcontinental epoch may have served as inspiration for the creation of America’s interstate highway system — not the threat of a nuclear attack and evacuation of America’s major cities, apparently — later on during his presidency.

Among the highlights: 6 mph traveling speed, biblical salts in Utah and misery in Nebraska. Pack a lunch for the long read, because it’s entertaining.

86_19_190Eisenhower’s trip between Washington D.C. and San Fransisco wasn’t exactly a pleasure cruise. The convoy of 80 trucks was assembled to show the rest of the country its mechanical might after the Army returned from World War I.

The team traveled across the Lincoln Highway, which was America’s only real transcontinental route. The highway became much more of a suggestion west of Nebraska, and by Utah the route had disappeared altogether.

The team traveled the distance in 62 days, which was 6 days longer than anticipated.

Today, traveling between San Francisco and Washington D.C. via Interstate 80 would take roughly 42 hours, according to Google Maps.

The modern-day I-80 is the road that most closely traces the original Lincoln Highway, and was part of the initial Interstate Highway System approved by Eisenhower in 1956. The last portion of I-80 was finished in 1986 in Utah.

(H/T to TTAC reader David for sending this in.)

(Photos from the Eisenhower Archive)

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NHTSA Investigating Gear Selector in Jeep Grand Cherokee, Possibly Other Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nhtsa-looking-transmission-selectors-chrysler-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/nhtsa-looking-transmission-selectors-chrysler-vehicles/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 18:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1152409 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating complaints that gear selector handles on Jeep Grand Cherokees may slip out of park and cause the car to roll away, Automotive News is reporting. Owners have detailed several complaints to NHTSA who said their Grand Cherokees rolled away while parked, including one person in Michigan who said a child […]

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2015 Jeep® Grand Cherokee Overland

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating complaints that gear selector handles on Jeep Grand Cherokees may slip out of park and cause the car to roll away, Automotive News is reporting.

Owners have detailed several complaints to NHTSA who said their Grand Cherokees rolled away while parked, including one person in Michigan who said a child was injured exiting the rollaway vehicle.

A similar transmission selector was used in the 2014 Chrysler 300. An owner complained of a similar problem in that car, where it rolled away and crashed into two other vehicles.

Chrysler changed the transmission selector in 2015 in both cars, but it’s unclear if the investigation or owner complaints prompted the switch. Many people (including yours truly) thought the handle was slightly confusing to use, and several NHTSA complaints echo that sentiment.

According to the agency, roughly 408,000 cars could be impacted by a potential recall.

As part of its settlement with the government, an independent monitor will review Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s handling of recalls for two years.

We reached out to FCA for comment on the investigation, but haven’t heard back.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.48.08 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.49.21 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.17.06 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.20.16 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 10.16.51 AM

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the safety administration that is investigating the complaints. It is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

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Interest in Hybrid Cars the Same, But Not When Money is Involved http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/interest-in-hybrid-cars-the-same-but-not-when-money-is-involved/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/interest-in-hybrid-cars-the-same-but-not-when-money-is-involved/#comments Sun, 23 Aug 2015 14:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150945 Two stories paint an interesting present reality for hybrid and electric vehicles in America. Interest in hybrid vehicles has stayed consistent for the last two years among people in the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. But apparently dealers and buyers can’t keep their hands off of those cars in Connecticut, where that state recently offered up to $3,000 […]

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2014-b-class-electric-drive-3

Two stories paint an interesting present reality for hybrid and electric vehicles in America. Interest in hybrid vehicles has stayed consistent for the last two years among people in the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. But apparently dealers and buyers can’t keep their hands off of those cars in Connecticut, where that state recently offered up to $3,000 on the hoods of those cars, Automotive News is reporting.

According to a Harris Poll, 48 percent of polled Americans say they would consider a hybrid vehicle next time they’re in the market for a car, which is roughly the same number of people who said so in 2013. Interest in electric and plug-in hybrid cars was up slightly to 21 and 29 percent of respondents, respectively.

Getting people to pull the trigger on that purchase, it seems, is still a matter of dangling a tangible benefit — fuel economy and environmental benefit may still not be enough.

Jeff Aiosa, who owns a Mercedes dealership in New London, Connecticut, said his electrified B-Class cars weren’t going anywhere until that state started offering money directly to consumers to buy one.

“We weren’t selling them heavily before,” Aiosa told Automotive News. “The program certainly created some amped-up demand.”

Connecticut is offering money off the cars directly from a $1 million fund aimed at moving cars off lots. The state is putting up to $3,000 on the hoods of some cars, depending on battery size, to incentive purchases of hybrids and electric cars. Through July, about one-quarter of the incentive money available had been claimed.

“This is the type of program that can be a win-win-win for the state, auto manufacturers, dealers and consumers,” said Leo Karl, who owns a Chevrolet dealership. Karl said he was nearly out of 2015 Volts, which qualify for $1,500 from the program, and expects that the 2016 Volt, which will qualify for $3,000, will go quickly too.

Interestingly, part of the Connecticut program allows dealers who sell the cars to keep up to $300 of the incentive.

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England Studying “Charge As You Drive” Inductive Charging Roads http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/england-studying-charge-as-you-drive-inductive-charging-roads/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/england-studying-charge-as-you-drive-inductive-charging-roads/#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2015 17:45:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1143369 The British government is continuing on with a study of inductive charging on England’s busy A roads a reality, reports the BBC (via Gizmodo). Feasibility of the technology hasn’t been fully proven as of yet, but England is getting one step closer by tendering bids for off-road trials. If off-road trials are successful, you might […]

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M4 Motorway England, UK

The British government is continuing on with a study of inductive charging on England’s busy A roads a reality, reports the BBC (via Gizmodo).

Feasibility of the technology hasn’t been fully proven as of yet, but England is getting one step closer by tendering bids for off-road trials. If off-road trials are successful, you might be able to drive long distances across the UK without needing to stop to recharge. The trials are expected to take 18 months from 2016 to 2017.

Elon, you might soon lose your killer app.

The technology has been used in the past in England and elsewhere to provide electricity for public transportation fleets. In Milton Keynes, metal plates were installed in the road to inductively charge buses, but those vehicles must stop in order to receive an electrical top up.

The long-term plan to install the technology in public roads might come to a halt even if the technology itself is proven to work in off-road trials. The cost to implement it on British roads combined with advances in battery technology may negate its viability.

However, this does open up the possibility of a whole new class of vehicle — that of the battery-less EV — which would likely be much more efficient as less mass would need motivation. Also, just imagine how roomy it would make the autonomous pods of the future.

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The California Air Resources Board, the Automakers, and You http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/california-air-resources-board-automakers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/california-air-resources-board-automakers/#comments Tue, 11 Aug 2015 18:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1138418 Last week, Bloomberg Business profiled the one woman who may have more influence in the automaking universe for the next decade than any other person on the planet. California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols’ story about running the nation’s most stringent air quality standards board is compelling, fascinating and terrifying — if you’re an automaker. […]

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Mary Nichols

Last week, Bloomberg Business profiled the one woman who may have more influence in the automaking universe for the next decade than any other person on the planet.

California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols’ story about running the nation’s most stringent air quality standards board is compelling, fascinating and terrifying — if you’re an automaker.

The state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050 is met by an equally ambitious — and onerous — goal for automakers: don’t sell new cars with internal combustion engines in California by 2030.

“If the federal government can’t get it right, we in Cal­ifornia are going to take care of busi­ness,” California Governor Jerry Brown said in an April speech.

Brown tabbed Nichols to run the air quality board during his first stint as California governor in the late 1970s and then rehired her when he was elected to the position again a few years ago.

In her first run, the story points out, Nichols forced automakers to put catalytic converters on their cars to cut down on smog in California cities. General Motors said it would sink them. It didn’t. (Eds note: The Citation did.) 

Now, before the ambitious 2030 goal, Nichols is forcing automakers to comply with her rules — even if it costs them millions. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief Sergio Marchionne famously told people not to buy his Fiat 500e because it cost him $10,000.

What’s more, Nichols has the ear of the feds and emerging countries on how best to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases and it could force automakers’ hands into quickly building cars that would comply with more stringent standards. Her policies have scale, too: California is the world’s eighth-largest economy.

Under current rules, zero-emission vehicles sales would need to ramp up in California by 2018, with the eventual goal of having 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2022, although the automakers have been stockpiling a significant amount of credits to offset that.

Bloomberg’s excellent profile, paired with the LA Times’ in-depth look at Nichols last year, draw a picture of the woman who may further upend the automotive world in the next decade.

Neither story directly forecast how the regulations she’s helping bring forward would impact consumers, but a cursory look at the history of how automakers complied with regulations she worked on (at least, in part) 40 years ago reads like a list of carmaker “must-haves” today: catalytic converters, fuel injection, unleaded fuel, ECUs and oxygen sensors.

(Photo courtesy California Air Resources Board)

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Want Cheaper Car Insurance? Pay Your Electric Bill on Time http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/want-cheaper-car-insurance-pay-gas-bill-time/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/want-cheaper-car-insurance-pay-gas-bill-time/#comments Mon, 10 Aug 2015 19:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1137434 Automotive insurers use more than just your driving history to set your rates, the New York Times is reporting. Factors such as your credit score, address and marital status can increasingly affect premiums more than driving history, the story explains. A survey of the nation’s largest insurers — Geico, State Farm, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual and […]

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Google Compare for Auto Insurance

Automotive insurers use more than just your driving history to set your rates, the New York Times is reporting.

Factors such as your credit score, address and marital status can increasingly affect premiums more than driving history, the story explains.

A survey of the nation’s largest insurers — Geico, State Farm, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual and Farmers — found that a hypothetical woman in her 30s paid more if she was widowed, instead of married, at four of the five firms. The premium increases ranged from 3 percent to 29 percent. Only State Farm charged the woman the same, regardless of marital status.

Many insurers use credit reporting bureaus to adjust rates for drivers looking for coverage.

A 2003 study by the University of Texas found that drivers with lower credit scores filed more claims and were a greater risk to car insurance companies, although several states including California, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Colorado outlaw the practice of adjusting rates or denying coverage by using credit scores. Some have said that credit scores are unreliable at predicting driving habits and unlike cable companies, if you don’t pay your premium, insurance companies are pretty quick to suspend your coverage.

But the study found that married drivers get the benefit of the doubt more often. Despite having more single adults in the U.S. now, married drivers get lower rates because they’re responsible adults and never make mistakes, or something. Here’s how they explain how it works (via NYTimes):

“David Snyder, a spokesman for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, said that rather than showing a penalty applied to widows or other unmarried people, the analysis reflected that many insurers gave a discounted premium to married couples, because they tended to be more responsible and had a lower rate of filing claims. So if drivers are not married, they will not receive a quote with that discount.”

See? Single drivers aren’t penalized. They’re just not rewarded. Those are totally different.

Nonetheless, the story’s most salient point is that — at least in the United States — the process of adjusting and setting rates isn’t totally transparent, despite the government mandate to make it so.

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Higher Octane Could Solve All of Our Problems http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/higher-octane-solve-problems/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/higher-octane-solve-problems/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 19:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1136298 Speaking at a conference this week, EPA exec Christopher Grundler said automakers have asked for higher octane fuels for higher compression tolerance and more powerful engines, Automotive News is reporting. Speaking at the CAR Management Briefing Seminar series, Grundler said the EPA has the authority to regulate fuel, but that the agency would investigate whether it […]

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E10 + 100 Percent Gasoline at the Pump

Speaking at a conference this week, EPA exec Christopher Grundler said automakers have asked for higher octane fuels for higher compression tolerance and more powerful engines, Automotive News is reporting.

Speaking at the CAR Management Briefing Seminar series, Grundler said the EPA has the authority to regulate fuel, but that the agency would investigate whether it would make sense to offer the higher-grade fuel. Grundler is the agency’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

(Note to Grundler: You seem like a smart guy. Why can’t we all have race fuel all the time?)

Drivers would have to pay more at the pump, Grundler said, which would make regulating higher octane fuel more difficult to swallow.

However, as more manufacturers turn to turbocharging smaller displacement engines with higher compression ratios, the engines themselves could become more powerful and applicable to a larger range and car size. But will they last?

For example, Mercedes Benz’s 2-liter, turbocharged engine produces 177.5 hp/l, a figure that was almost unheard of in mass-produced passenger cars 20 years ago. The fleet averages though, still hover around 100 hp/l.

Grundler said the EPA would investigate whether higher-octane fuels, or something probably not as exciting, would help manufacturers continue to build bigger, heavier, safer cars, but with more efficient, smaller, fuel-sipping engines.

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GM Will Settle with 124 Families Over Ignition Switch Deaths http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/gm-will-settle-124-families-ignition-switch-deaths/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/gm-will-settle-124-families-ignition-switch-deaths/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1133969 General Motors announced Tuesday that it’ll settle with at least 124 families who claimed that faulty ignition switches killed family members, Car and Driver is reporting. The settlement comes after a long review to identify victims and people injured by the defective car part that could shut off and disable airbags in the process. The switches […]

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GMIgnitionAndSwitchAssembly02(1)

General Motors announced Tuesday that it’ll settle with at least 124 families who claimed that faulty ignition switches killed family members, Car and Driver is reporting. The settlement comes after a long review to identify victims and people injured by the defective car part that could shut off and disable airbags in the process.

The switches were part of a 2014 recall that involved 2.6 million cars, including the Chevrolet HHR and Cobalt, Saturn Sky and Ion, and Pontiac Solstice and G5. The reported number of dead people was revised as part of a year-long investigation after GM initially acknowledged only 13 fatalities.

The settlement may cost GM up to $625 million, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In all, 124 fatalities and 274 injuries have filed claims against the automaker. In addition to federal lawsuits, the automaker faces investigations by 50 state attorneys general.

The settlement may very well be the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end for a sad chapter in the automaker’s history where it initially covered up, failed to contact families, then failed to acknowledge the scope of the tragic problem.

As a result of the botched recall, the federal government has taken a tougher stance on the automakers and how it handles recalls, which could dramatically change the oversight bureau that handles automotive safety.

Nonetheless, the historical significance of the tragically bad recall will be noted as such: 124 deaths have been attributed to the faulty switch that would have cost $1 to fix in each car.

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FCA Dealers Can’t Sell Used Cars Without Recall Repairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/fca-dealers-cant-sell-used-cars-without-recall-repairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/fca-dealers-cant-sell-used-cars-without-recall-repairs/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1132529 Fiat Chrysler Automobile dealers won’t be able to sell cars without recall repair work or they risk losing their incentive money under a new agreement with the federal government, Automotive News is reporting. The agreement was part of the sweeping package penalties imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including up to $105 million […]

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east-brunswick-nj-jeep-dodge-chrysler-dealership-1024x768

Fiat Chrysler Automobile dealers won’t be able to sell cars without recall repair work or they risk losing their incentive money under a new agreement with the federal government, Automotive News is reporting.

The agreement was part of the sweeping package penalties imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including up to $105 million in fines. According to the consent agreement by the federal bureau and FCA, the company already asks dealers to complete recall work, but the new mandate would reinforce that existing policy.

In the United States, it’s illegal for a dealer to sell a new car without recall repair work, but no such law exists for used cars. A recent proposal in Congress to force used car dealers to complete open recall repair work was met with opposition.

Congress may approve a measure requiring car rental companies to comply with open recalls before it sends its cars out on to the roads.

According to a used car industry spokesman, the difficulty in getting all used car dealers to comply with recall repair work is resources and the dealers’ abilities to close the work orders with NHTSA. Only dealerships affiliated with manufacturers can perform open recall work and close those cars out with the federal safety bureau.

Carmax, for instance, provides a detailed report of recalls for its cars and encourages new buyers to register with the manufacturer to be notified of recalls. A recent report suggested that there may be up to 36 million cars on U.S. roads that haven’t complied with recalls.

It’s unclear from the consent order if the recall repair work applies only to FCA used cars sold on FCA lots, or if it would require all cars sold at FCA dealers to comply with manufacturer recalls.

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Arrested for DUI, Woman’s Probation Becomes Nightmare http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/arrested-dui-womans-probation-becomes-nightmare/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/arrested-dui-womans-probation-becomes-nightmare/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 19:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1132673 Over the weekend, the New York Times detailed the story of a black woman in Baltimore who, 18 months after being arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol level of .09, has endured more than a year of unusually stiff penalties and harsh treatment. The story highlights the tale of 40-year-old Donyelle Hall who had a clean […]

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Prison Jail

Over the weekend, the New York Times detailed the story of a black woman in Baltimore who, 18 months after being arrested for driving with a blood-alcohol level of .09, has endured more than a year of unusually stiff penalties and harsh treatment.

The story highlights the tale of 40-year-old Donyelle Hall who had a clean criminal record before her arrest on Christmas Day 2013 for drunken driving. After her arrest, the woman was forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorney and court costs, spend more than a month in jail and lost her job. Monthly probation costs for the woman were $385 a month alone.

The story outlines some of the inconsistencies among DUI enforcement from state-to-state — and even judge-to-judge. According to research by WalletHub, DUI laws can vary dramatically between states from a mandatory 10-day jail sentence and 90-day license suspension in Arizona to no mandatory jail time and no license suspension in South Dakota. A 2010 West Virginia case found that officers could issue a DUI and suspend a person’s license even if authorities couldn’t specifically prove that the person was driving.

According to Hall, officers wrongly said she and her husband resisted the officer’s commands and that she closed her eyes during her field sobriety test. When she was taken to jail, the Hall failed to provide a sufficient breathalyzer sample three times because of the 5-foot-tall woman’s lung capacity before she failed the fourth test.

Her .09 observed blood-alcohol level was over the .07 threshold in Maryland, but the story notes that for a woman of her weight and size, the difference between .06 and .09 would have been one glass of wine in a four-hour period.

In addition to highlighting inequities and shortcomings in the American probation system, the story also addresses how discretionary sentencing can vary from judge to judge. Hall said she had to appear in court five times to explain why she was forced to move “around the corner” after her apartment was infested with mice. Initially the judge denied her request to move, and eventually Hall didn’t move anyway.

According to NHTSA, drivers with blood-alcohol levels between .08 and .10 are 11 times more likely to crash than drivers with no alcohol in their bodies.

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Canada, Ontario Governments Kick in Millions for Toyota Plant Upgrades http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/canada-kicks-millions-toyota-plant-upgrades/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/canada-kicks-millions-toyota-plant-upgrades/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 19:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1130465 Federal and provincial governments in Canada have offered more than $100 million (USD $77 million) for improvements to the Cambridge and Woodstock plants, CTV news is reporting. The incentives are part of a $421 million (USD $323 million) investment that will be used for light metal stamping in Woodstock, which makes the RAV4, and plant improvements […]

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2013 Toyota RAV4

Federal and provincial governments in Canada have offered more than $100 million (USD $77 million) for improvements to the Cambridge and Woodstock plants, CTV news is reporting.

The incentives are part of a $421 million (USD $323 million) investment that will be used for light metal stamping in Woodstock, which makes the RAV4, and plant improvements in Cambridge, which produces the soon-to-be-gone Toyota Corolla and Lexus RX vehicles. Toyota has said it will move the Corolla to Mexico, but hasn’t announced what would replace it at the Cambridge plant.

The Canadian government tipped in $34 million in 2013 for improvements to the Cambridge plant to produce the RX 450h.

Toyota’s announcement may be welcome news for Ontario’s car-building complex. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne recently told media in Toronto that building cars in Canada is becoming more expensive, and former Oshawa mayor John Gray calling for a GM boycott if the automaker doesn’t replace the Camaro when production ends in November.

Both Volvo and Land Rover have opted to build plants in Southern U.S. states that could potentially offer more in incentives than Canada’s most populous province, which is heaping more public debt on itself through public infrastructure projects.

The announcement could also signal a better working relationship between the governments and automakers. FCA may be looking for incentives as it prepares to make a $1 billion decision on its Brampton plant, which produces the Dodge Challenger, Charger and Chrysler 300.

Marchionne asked federal and provincial governments in 2014 for incentives to retool the company’s Windsor plant that produces minivans. After a contentious public debate over the size of the financial package requested, FCA decided to go it alone. The future of the Brampton plant, which will also require funding to finance retooling for the next-generation rear-wheel drive sedans, is uncertain.

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Senate Committee Approves Bill to Help Detroit Make Hybrids http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-approves-bill-help-detroit-make-hybrids/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-approves-bill-help-detroit-make-hybrids/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 21:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129497 A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting. The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside […]

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Chevrolet_Tahoe_Hybrid_O'Malley_--_01-12-2010

A U.S. Senate committee for transportation passed along a bill Thursday that included provisions to help domestic automakers develop and build cleaner vehicles, the Detroit News is reporting.

The proposal, dubbed the Vehicle Innovation Act, was included in a larger clean energy bill taken up by the committee. The Vehicle Innovation Act would set aside $313.6 million next year for research and development of hybrid technology, battery development and alternative fuels such as natural gas. Funding would increase by 4 percent every year up to 2020.

Nearly all major U.S. automotive lobbies representing manufacturers supported the proposal.

The proposal, which will now head to the Senate, faces an extremely difficult future. The bipartisan bill, which was sponsored by Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and Michigan Democrat Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, may be a long shot in the Republican-controlled House — if it makes it that far.

Separately, a bill that Peters introduced that would allow states to use highway funding to help advance road-to-vehicle communications, passed the Senate as part of a larger transportation package. The bill, called the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure Safety Technology Investment Flexibility Act of 2015 says what it does and does what it says will be part of the Senate’s larger 6-year highway funding package.

Along with the Vehicle Innovation Act, the “smart road” provision and larger funding bill won’t be taken up by the House anytime soon. Congress is working toward a 3-month stopgap measure and will take up the larger spending packages after its August recess.

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Nissan To Trump-bashing California Dealer Ad: ‘No Bueno’ [Video] http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-trump-bashing-california-dealer-ad-no-bueno-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-trump-bashing-california-dealer-ad-no-bueno-video/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 17:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1127961 Nissan scolded one of its dealers Tuesday for releasing an ad showing the battering of a piñata resembling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Automotive News is reporting. The ad depicts salesmen repeatedly hitting a Trump-looking piñata and declaring, “At Van Nuys Nissan, Latinos rule.” The ad was made after Trump denounced some undocumented Mexican immigrants […]

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Van Nuys Nissan

Nissan scolded one of its dealers Tuesday for releasing an ad showing the battering of a piñata resembling Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Automotive News is reporting.

The ad depicts salesmen repeatedly hitting a Trump-looking piñata and declaring, “At Van Nuys Nissan, Latinos rule.” The ad was made after Trump denounced some undocumented Mexican immigrants as “rapists” in a June political speech.

“We find these advertisements to be neither responsible or respectful, and we do not condone what they represent,” Nissan said in a statement. “We expect our dealers to establish advertising that is responsible and respectful and represents the best interest of the Nissan brand.”

Commenters have blasted Nissan of Van Nuys for airing the ad.

“I’m Hispanic, and I’m embarrassed for you. I’d never go to your dealership based on your crappy reviews. The idiotic piñata thing is the icing on the cake,” one commenter wrote. “Van Nuys Nissan, get your PR crew together and get rid of that racist manager.”

Nissan said it respected the dealer’s right to free speech.

Of course, this is hardly the first dealer to air a controversial ad. Nor is it the most entertainingly profane (link NSFW, obviously).

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No, Fiat Chrysler Probably Won’t Go Broke Buying Back Used Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-fiat-chrysler-probably-wont-go-broke-buying-back-used-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/no-fiat-chrysler-probably-wont-go-broke-buying-back-used-cars/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126033 After this morning’s announcement that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be subject to one of the largest civil penalties for an automaker, reports that the automaker could be on the hook for $2.5 billion in cars aren’t true, the automaker said today. “While such amounts may exceed the $20 million, contrary to certain reports, FCA US does […]

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2009_Dodge_RAM_1500_SLT_4-door_pickup_--_NHTSA_01

After this morning’s announcement that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would be subject to one of the largest civil penalties for an automaker, reports that the automaker could be on the hook for $2.5 billion in cars aren’t true, the automaker said today.

“While such amounts may exceed the $20 million, contrary to certain reports, FCA US does not expect that the net cost of providing these additional alternatives will be material to its financial position, liquidity or results of operations,” the automaker said in a statement.

In other words, expect to find some screaming deals on Ram trucks in the next few months.

The automaker announced on its website that not all customers would participate in the buyback plan and that 60 percent of the affected vehicles had been repaired already. That leaves roughly 200,000 cars that could be eligible for free repairs or to be purchased by FCA.

Those vehicles would be purchased at “a price equal to the original purchase price less a reasonable allowance for depreciation plus ten percent,” according to the automaker.

The manufacturer said under the guidelines of the penalty, it would be allowed to resell the recalled trucks to the public.

The vehicles that may be eligible for repurchase are:

• 2009-2012 Ram 1500s

• 2008-2012 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4, Ram 2500 4×4, 3500 4×4, 4500 4×4, 4500 4×4

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango

• 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota

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Car Building in Ontario Could Die, and They Probably Can’t Save It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/car-building-ontario-die-probably-cant-save/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/car-building-ontario-die-probably-cant-save/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125985 Ontario’s debt is swelling and as home to eight manufacturing plants — the largest complex in North America — automakers may have a tough time keeping plants open in Canada’s most-populous province. According to a story by the Financial Post, Ontario is moving forward with an ambitious plan to revamp roads and mass transit systems despite its debt being downgraded […]

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Chrysler Brampton Assembly Plant

Ontario’s debt is swelling and as home to eight manufacturing plants — the largest complex in North America — automakers may have a tough time keeping plants open in Canada’s most-populous province.

According to a story by the Financial Post, Ontario is moving forward with an ambitious plan to revamp roads and mass transit systems despite its debt being downgraded by Standard & Poor’s bond index. The broad public spending plan also extends to other sectors, despite high unemployment numbers and slumping manufacturing jobs.

Automakers such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have called on the provincial government to cut back on public programs and reduce costs on utilities in an effort to keep car building in the province profitable. This year, Chevrolet will shift production of its Camaro to Michigan. On the whole, Oshawa GM production has a dark cloud lingering overhead until the company decides what to do with the facility in 2016.

Ontario’s debt is twice that of California’s with only half the population, the Financial Post reported.

Last month the province reported that 5,200 manufacturing jobs left the region, which prompted local business leaders to sign a petition asking the government to reconsider its proposed pension plan that FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said this month could hamper growth.

“We’re fully aware of the fact that this proposal on pensions and cap and trade and all this stuff … these are all things that add cost to the running of operations, they don’t come for free,” Marchionne said, according to the Toronto Sun.

Already, automakers such as Volvo and Land Rover have turned down Ontario in favor of operations in the United States and it’s unclear if swelling debt and rising costs of operation will cost the province more jobs in the future.

Other automakers that already have facilities in Ontario are making changes. Honda and Ford are both positioning their plants to manufacture vehicles for export markets. Toyota, on the other hand, will end Corolla production in Ontario in favor of Mexico. The company stated it will “switch from producing Corollas to mid-sized, higher-value vehicles” at their Canadian plant. The replacement product has not yet been announced.

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Drivers Hogging Electric Spaces in Illinois May Get Ticketed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/drivers-hogging-electric-spaces-illinois-may-get-ticketed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/drivers-hogging-electric-spaces-illinois-may-get-ticketed/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125865 An Illinois bill that would make it illegal to park a gasoline-powered car in an electric car charging spot is awaiting the governor’s signature, Green Car Reports writes. The practice, also called ICE-ing, would net a $75-$100 ticket for the offending car owner in Illinois. The electric vehicle charging spot would need to be clearly […]

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ICE-ing Parking

An Illinois bill that would make it illegal to park a gasoline-powered car in an electric car charging spot is awaiting the governor’s signature, Green Car Reports writes.

The practice, also called ICE-ing, would net a $75-$100 ticket for the offending car owner in Illinois.

The electric vehicle charging spot would need to be clearly marked, the bill states. The bill would also make it legal to tow a car from an electric vehicle parking spot, whether in a public place or private garage.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Illinois State Rep. Robyn Gabel, a constituent called her to complain about the practice and that’s what prompted the statewide measure. (Find your state legislator here.)

Several municipalities have already outlawed the practice and there’s a Facebook group dedicated to sharing pictures of reported “ICE-holes.”

In 2012, a Fox News story asked aloud if the parking stations were a perk or privilege and quoted a driver in St. Paul, Minnesota, who said electric vehicle owners could be incapacitated because of the car they’ve purchased.

“This makes me think drivers of electric cars must be a little disabled,” one customer who didn’t want to give his name to FoxNews.com. “They are usually health freaks, so I wonder why they don’t mind walking a half-mile back to a charging station.”

(Photo courtesy ICEHoles – Internal Combustion Vehicle Shaming via Facebook)

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Fiat Chrysler May Have to Take Back 1.5M Defective Jeeps, Rams http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-may-take-back-1-5m-defective-jeeps-rams/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125729 In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps . The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million […]

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FCA US LLC HQ WTFBBQ

In an order detailing the largest civil penalty for an automaker so far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could have to buy back 500,000 defective trucks and accept trade-in above market value for 1 million defective Jeeps .

The automaker’s record $105 million fine includes a $70 million penalty, $20 million set aside for meeting safety standards dictated by the federal bureau and an additional $15 million in penalties if an independent monitor discovers further safety violations.

The record ruling comes after the agency said FCA botched recalls of more than 11 million vehicles for wide ranging issues, including Jeep models with rear gas tanks that could catch fire in rear collisions. The issue has been linked to more than 50 deaths. 

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind scolded the automaker in a statement Monday announcing the fine.

“Fiat Chrysler’s pattern of poor performance put millions of its customers, and the driving public, at risk,” he said. “This action will provide relief to owners of defective vehicles, will help improve recall performance throughout the auto industry, and gives Fiat Chrysler the opportunity to embrace a proactive safety culture.”

According to a statement by the automaker, Jeep owners who haven’t yet complied with their recall could get a $100 gift card to bring their vehicle into a dealer. Owners of defective Jeep models would also be eligible to trade in their vehicle for $1,000 above fair market value.

In addition to the Jeep fix, FCA will attempt to purchase or fix for free Ram trucks or Chrysler SUVs with a suspension defect that could cause the car to lose control. FCA could resell those fixed cars.

The automaker will have to submit to independent monitoring of its recalls for the next three years, with NHTSA being able to extend that agreement further for an additional year.

Last week, FCA announced it would be recalling 1.4 million cars for a security vulnerability that could allow hackers to remotely take control of a vehicle.

Read the ruling here.

The vehicles that may be eligible for repurchase are:

• 2009-2012 Ram 1500s

• 2008-2012 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4×4, Ram 2500 4×4, 3500 4×4, 4500 4×4, 4500 4×4

• 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango

• 2009-2011 Dodge Dakota

The vehicles that may be eligible for a $100 gift card for dealer inspection or $1,000 over market value for trade-in are:

• 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

• 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty

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Domestic Automakers Lobby to Streamline US-EU Safety Regulations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/domestic-automakers-lobby-to-streamline-us-eu-safety-regulations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/domestic-automakers-lobby-to-streamline-us-eu-safety-regulations/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125273 Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting. Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a […]

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Qoros-3-Sedan-Safety-structure

Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting.

Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a popular U.S. car in 2013 comply with European safety standards cost $42 million for the automaker.

Trade talks have been been ongoing for 10 months and lobbyists are hoping one government will adopt the standards of the other, instead of creating a separate system.

The story details the differences between U.S. and E.U. safety regulations, as small as a trunk release latch in the U.S that isn’t required in Europe, all the way up to small overlap front crash protection.

Despite the differences, both sets of safety regulations create equally safe cars and would boost EU-U.S. auto trade by 20 percent, the Peterson Institute for International Economics said in a study.

This isn’t the first call for harmonized regulations, Ford and Daimler have both asked for unified standards.

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Report: NHTSA to fine Fiat Chrysler $105M http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-nhtsa-to-fine-fiat-chrysler-105m/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-nhtsa-to-fine-fiat-chrysler-105m/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:07:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125241 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will fine Fiat Chrysler Automobiles $105 million for botching the recall of more than 11 million cars, including 1.6 million Jeeps with a fuel tank issue, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The automaker faced fines of up to $700 million. As part of the settlement, FCA will agree to an independent […]

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1999 Grand Cherokee Launch-12

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will fine Fiat Chrysler Automobiles $105 million for botching the recall of more than 11 million cars, including 1.6 million Jeeps with a fuel tank issue, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The automaker faced fines of up to $700 million.

As part of the settlement, FCA will agree to an independent monitor to audit its recalls. On Friday, FCA announced it was recalling 1.4 million cars and trucks for software that could be hacked and controlled remotely.

The automaker faced a congressional hearing this month for its failure to quickly recall Jeeps that could catch fire in a rear-end collision. In June, Chrysler refused to comply with a request by NHTSA to recall those Jeeps.

A bill is winding its way through Congress to change how NHTSA penalizes automakers and conducts recalls.

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Execs Refusing To Disclose Defects Won’t Go to Jail Anytime Soon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/execs-refusing-to-disclose-defects-wont-go-to-jail-anytime-soon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/execs-refusing-to-disclose-defects-wont-go-to-jail-anytime-soon/#comments Tue, 21 Jul 2015 22:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1122017 A U.S. Senate committee has shot down a number of auto safety measures including one that would hold executives criminally accountable for not disclosing known automotive defects, reports the New York Times. “Hiding these deadly defects with near impunity is what the industry has succeeded in doing,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., according to the story. […]

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General Motors CEO Mary Barra Testifies Before Senate Committee About GM's Recalls

A U.S. Senate committee has shot down a number of auto safety measures including one that would hold executives criminally accountable for not disclosing known automotive defects, reports the New York Times.

“Hiding these deadly defects with near impunity is what the industry has succeeded in doing,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., according to the story. He introduced many of the failed provisions.

Another proposal that would have made it illegal for used-car dealers to sell vehicles with outstanding recalls was rejected by the committee.

There were a few wins for Democrats backing stiffer penalties, however, as a proposal to raise the maximum civil penalty against automakers from $35 million to $70 million gained approval, as did a measure to ban rental car companies from renting vehicles with open recalls.

Two other proposals were withdrawn before they could be rejected. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said he would likely propose them later as amendments directly on the Senate floor.

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Senate Committee Says Rental Cars Must Have Recall Repairs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-says-rental-cars-must-have-recall-repairs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/senate-committee-says-rental-cars-must-have-recall-repairs/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1117929 U.S. rental cars will need to comply with open recalls before being driven off the lots, a U.S. Senate panel decided Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. The measure was an about-face from an earlier proposal backed by automakers, consumer groups and some rental car companies, which would have allowed rental cars with known defects to continue to be […]

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US Senate Wing of the Capitol

U.S. rental cars will need to comply with open recalls before being driven off the lots, a U.S. Senate panel decided Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.

The measure was an about-face from an earlier proposal backed by automakers, consumer groups and some rental car companies, which would have allowed rental cars with known defects to continue to be driven, as long as those defects were disclosed to consumers. NHTSA asked lawmakers to consider the proposal on pulling defective cars off the road in February.

The bill’s opponents said the revised amendment could harm consumers by filling dealerships with rental cars waiting to be repaired.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said preventing rental car companies from issuing cars with known defects would ultimately be safer for drivers.

“When consumers and families drive a rental car off the lot, they should be able to do so with the confidence that car is safe to drive, and we’re one step closer to that peace of mind today,” she said, according to Bloomberg.

The amendment is part of a much larger, comprehensive bill that tackles automakers’ recalls and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ability to fine or penalize car companies.

The embattled bill, which was proposed by Republicans this month, would double the existing $35 million cap on fines for automakers and extra federal money for vehicle safety measures. Democrats opposed the larger measure, saying it didn’t go far enough. Democrats have introduced a much larger reform measure which would include a recall warning light for new cars.

 

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