The Truth About Cars » Quality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 21 Dec 2014 12:52:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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 » Quality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/quality/ Teknikens Värld: Ford Mondeo Estate ‘Dangerously Overweight’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teknikens-varld-ford-mondeo-estate-dangerously-overweight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/teknikens-varld-ford-mondeo-estate-dangerously-overweight/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962754 The Ford Mondeo Estate is in trouble with one Swedish automotive publication, thanks to how much it weighs. Teknikens Värld reports the Mondeo Titanium Estate equipped with the 150-horsepower 2-liter TDCi and six-speed manual is supposed to weigh 3,530 pounds. However, when the publication’s test subject was placed on a roadside scale, the weight came […]

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Ford Mondeo Estate overweight

The Ford Mondeo Estate is in trouble with one Swedish automotive publication, thanks to how much it weighs.

Teknikens Värld reports the Mondeo Titanium Estate equipped with the 150-horsepower 2-liter TDCi and six-speed manual is supposed to weigh 3,530 pounds. However, when the publication’s test subject was placed on a roadside scale, the weight came out to 4,145 pounds, 615 more than what Ford said it weighed.

This is a problem in Sweden, as loading a vehicle above its total gross weight is illegal, something that would occur if a family loads the Mondeo to what they believe is the gross weight, only to find they’ve exceeded it.

The extra weight also proved to be dangerous, as the Mondeo failed the publication’s moose test, faring better at said test when the load dropped to 220 pounds above the maximum load limit.

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NHTSA Ready To Force Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-ready-force-nationwide-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=962073 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags. The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in […]

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ready to force Takata and three of its clients into a nationwide recall over the catastrophic failure of the supplier’s airbags.

The Detroit News reports the agency will bring Ford, FCA US and BMW to court if necessary, compelling the automakers to recall 5 million affected vehicles in addition to those already recalled.

The first act in bringing the named parties to trial will be a formal demand letter issued to all concerned. Upon refusal, the NHTSA will file a suit against each party in U.S. District Court, a process that could last for months, if not years.

The die was cast when Takata rebuffed the agency’s request earlier this month to expand its recall efforts beyond high-humidity locations in warm climates around the United States, including Florida and Hawaii.

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Portland Sues Uber Over Lack Of Proper Permits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/portland-sues-uber-lack-proper-permits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/portland-sues-uber-lack-proper-permits/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958385 The dream of the Nineties may live on in Portland, Ore., but for Uber, it’s a nightmare that’s just beginning. Bloomberg reports the city government sued the transportation network company just three days after the latter began operations in the Rose City. The complaint, filed in state court in Multnomah County, says Uber is in […]

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Uber Dudebro Travis Kalanicks Stepping Out To Get Beat Down

The dream of the Nineties may live on in Portland, Ore., but for Uber, it’s a nightmare that’s just beginning.

Bloomberg reports the city government sued the transportation network company just three days after the latter began operations in the Rose City. The complaint, filed in state court in Multnomah County, says Uber is in violation of over 20 civil and criminal law provisions because the TNC and its drivers lack the proper permits, and the city seeks to block the company from operating in the city.

Representative Eva Behrend didn’t see the fuss, however:

Uber has received a tremendously warm welcome from riders and drivers in and around Portland. We appreciate the way residents have welcomed Uber into the Rose City, their support illustrates why it’s time to modernize Portland transportation regulation.

Portland joins New Delhi and Rio de Janeiro in putting the hammer down on Uber: the Delhi state government recently banned the TNC after a driver was accused of rape earlier this week, while in Rio, the city’s municipal transportation department filed a complaint with police over the TNC’s lack of taxi service licenses.

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Chrysler Group Introduces PUG Plan For Pentastar V6 Family http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chrysler-group-introduces-pug-plan-pentastar-v6-family/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chrysler-group-introduces-pug-plan-pentastar-v6-family/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957330 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler Group has big plans for its venerable Pentastar engine family, all in the name of improved fuel efficiency and power. Automotive News reports the Pentastar Upgrade — or PUG — will include turbocharging of current naturally aspirated mills, direct injection and other technologies, with the first updated 3.6-liter V6 to turn […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler Group has big plans for its venerable Pentastar engine family, all in the name of improved fuel efficiency and power.

Automotive News reports the Pentastar Upgrade — or PUG — will include turbocharging of current naturally aspirated mills, direct injection and other technologies, with the first updated 3.6-liter V6 to turn up in 2015 under the bonnet of the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The next engine under PUG will be a 3.2-liter V6, which will replace the current 3.6-liter unit powering the Chrysler Town & Country when the next-gen model enters showrooms in 2016. The new engine will be paired with the nine-speed automatic found in some trims of the Jeep Cherokee, and is expected to deliver a 25 percent improvement to fuel economy over the current arrangement’s 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway EPA rating.

Should all go as planned, the aforementioned 3.6-liter could also help the Ram 1500 take the gasoline-efficiency crown back from the Ford F-150 EcoBoost, which it lost to said truck in November.

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Nair: Ford Considering CVTs For Future Applications http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-considering-cvts-future-applications/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nair-ford-considering-cvts-future-applications/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957306 Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications. Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five […]

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Ford is considering giving the B&B’s least favorite transmission type another go for future applications.

Automotive News reports global product development boss Raj Nair said as much during a media event in Detroit. Though Ford hasn’t had much success with CVTs in the past — the last models to use the transmission were the Five Hundred, Freestyle and Mercury Montego back in 2007 — the automaker is “taking another look, particularly in low torque applications” such as the Fiesta SFE, whose 1-liter EcoBoost is only available with a manual transmission.

As for where Ford will get its new CVTs, Nair didn’t say if the transmission type would be made in-house or obtained from a supplier, as was the case with ZF Friedrichshafen AG in 2007.

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GM Replacing Keys In 2014-15 Trucks, SUVs Due To Ignition Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-replacing-keys-2014-15-trucks-suvs-due-ignition-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/gm-replacing-keys-2014-15-trucks-suvs-due-ignition-issues/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=956898 Own a new Chevrolet or GMC truck? You might be getting a new set of keys. Automotive News reports owners of 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs without keyless start will need to come in to have […]

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2014 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab Z71

Own a new Chevrolet or GMC truck? You might be getting a new set of keys.

Automotive News reports owners of 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, as well as 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs without keyless start will need to come in to have the keys replaced. Per the bulletin issued by General Motors:

Some customers may comment that if the tilt steering column is in the full-up position and the shift lever is moved between gears, the shift lever contacts the head of the ignition key. Some contact force may rotate the ignition key and shut the engine off. When this condition occurs, the brake pedal was applied.

The keys are already available, as the automaker made the fix in February of this year. The bulletin requires dealers to issue the new key to customers who bought their vehicles prior to the change, and complain of the issue as noted.

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Shimizu: Takata Hasn’t Found The Cause Of Airbag Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955722 Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls. Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That […]

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Shimizu, Takata's Senior Vice President for global quality assurance, testifies before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington

Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls.

Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That said, Shimizu said his company was of “the strong opinion that (there) is a factor contributing to this defect: which is high humidity, temperature and the life of the product.” He also claimed the ammonium nitrate used in the airbags was safe and stable, though he admitted replacements weren’t coming fast enough.

Meanwhile, competitor Autoliv announced it would supply replacements to Honda for vehicles in the United States. The automaker had mentioned before Congress it was in talks with the supplier and another, Daicel, regarding expanded production to replace modules in a nationwide recall. Autoliv will add capacity in its existing plants, with deliveries to come after six months.

Among the other affected automakers, Chrysler, Toyota and Mazda have stepped up their individual recall efforts. AutoGuide says the subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has called back 149,150 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models from the 2003 model year, covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated the move wasn’t enough, and is looking at what action to take next.

Over in Japan, Bloomberg reports Toyota is recalling 190,000 affected vehicles in its local market and in China. The recall comes on the news of a catastrophic detonation at a junkyard of a Takata airbag inside a 2003 WiLL Cypha; the detonation was part of the procedures outlined by Japan’s Automobile Recycling Law, which also requires dismantlers to report any problem to the automaker to determine if a recall is necessary.

Finally, The Detroit News says Mazda is recalling 40,000 more vehicles — including the 2003-2007 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX-8, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6, 2004-2005 MPV and 2004 B-Series — in Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Alabama. The automaker previously recalled 44,000 units in the U.S. and 2,600 in Puerto Rico.

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T&E: European Test Cycle ‘Not Fit For Purpose’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/te-european-test-cycle-not-fit-purpose/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/te-european-test-cycle-not-fit-purpose/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955698 The European test cycle for fuel economy and emissions may need to be taken out back, based on findings by policy group Transport and Environment. According to Ward’s Auto, T&E proclaimed the New European Driving Cycle “is not fit for purpose,” finding the laboratory results reported by automakers and those uncovered in real-world scenarios have […]

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VW XL1

The European test cycle for fuel economy and emissions may need to be taken out back, based on findings by policy group Transport and Environment.

According to Ward’s Auto, T&E proclaimed the New European Driving Cycle “is not fit for purpose,” finding the laboratory results reported by automakers and those uncovered in real-world scenarios have a gulf between them, one that has widened over time: 8 percent difference in 2001, 31 percent in 2013, and a predicted 50 percent by 2020 if no action is taken.

Per the group, the NEDC is “obsolete, unrepresentative of modern cars and driving styles, and full of loopholes that car makers exploit to produce better test results,” as the lab results fail to account for external factors.

A replacement is in the works: the AECA is helping to develop the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure, meant to replicate the real-world conditions the NEDC fails to account. The European Union would like the WLTP ready by 2017, but T&E clean-vehicles chief Greg Archer wants to see it sooner so that automakers can be stopped from “exploiting the flexibilities” in the current procedure.

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Takata Faces Forced Recall After Defying NHTSA Order http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955385 Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter. Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less […]

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Takata

Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter.

Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less of a factor in the catastrophic failures than previously proclaimed by Takata, adding that the agency would hire an independent expert within the week to conduct more tests.

Takata claimed in its letter to the NHTSA that a nationwide recall was not necessary, as there wasn’t enough reliable evidence to mandate such an action that would take away from fixing the problem in high-humidity zones, creating needless delays in conducting repairs. The supplier also took the agency to task for not providing enough notice, and that it was already on its way to improving the safety of its products.

Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut encouraged the NHTSA to force Takata into compliance, and to expand the nationwide recall to cover passenger-side airbags as well. Friedman said the agency’s next move would be to force said recall, which could take several weeks or months. He added that he didn’t have a set timetable to bring about the action.

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EPA Proposes Stricter Ground-Ozone Level Standards http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/epa-proposes-stricter-ground-ozone-level-standards/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/epa-proposes-stricter-ground-ozone-level-standards/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 12:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955361 Six years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency set the acceptable level of ground-level ozone to 75 parts per billion. That level is about to come down. The EPA is proposing a new acceptable level between 70 pbb and 65 pbb, and is accepting comments about dropping the level to 60 pbb. The proposal is in […]

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Six years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency set the acceptable level of ground-level ozone to 75 parts per billion. That level is about to come down.

The EPA is proposing a new acceptable level between 70 pbb and 65 pbb, and is accepting comments about dropping the level to 60 pbb. The proposal is in line with requirements by the Clean Air Act, mandating the agency review the standards every five years, and is meant to better improve air quality.

Per its analysis, the agency expects the new standard to provide “significantly better protection for children… and adults,” with as many as 320,000 to 960,000 asthma attacks, 750 to 4,300 premature deaths, and 65,000 to 180,000 missed workdays prevented. The economic benefits derived from the finalized standard and resulting health improvements would also outweigh any government investment:

These large health benefits will be gained from avoiding asthma attacks, heart attacks, missed school days and premature deaths, among other health effects valued at $6.4 to $13 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb, and $19 to $38 billion annually in 2025 for a standard of 65 ppb. Annual costs are estimated at $3.9 billion in 2025 for a standard of 70 ppb, and $15 billion for a standard at 65 ppb.

The act would give states time to meet the new standards based on severity, with the worse expected to conform by 2020, to 2037 for lesser-affected areas. The final ozone standards are set to be finalized by October 1, 2015.

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Takata Refuses NHTSA Call For Nationwide Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955057 Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and […]

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Toyota WiLL Cypha

Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and Toyota and Honda both call for an industry review of Takata’s wares.

The Detroit News reports the supplier informed the NHTSA Wednesday morning that it will not conduct a nationwide recall of vehicles in the United States equipped with driver-side airbags, as requested by the agency in a special order made last week, and whose deadline was December 2. Deputy administrator David Friedman expressed the agency’s disappointment in a statement, lamenting Takata is failing to live up to its responsibility toward keeping drivers safe. Chair and CEO Shigehisa Takada proclaimed in his own statement that his company “remains committed to cooperating closely with our customers and NHTSA to address the potential for inflator rupturing.” An initial decision and public hearing demanding the supplier to recall is the next step for the NHTSA.

Detroit Free Press says Takata called upon former Transportation Secretaries Sam Skinner (George H.W. Bush), Rodney Slater (Bill Clinton) and Norman Mineta (Clinton, George W. Bush) to help guide it through the crisis. Skinner is slated to lead a quality assurance panel to help the supplier better design its airbags, while Slater and Mineta will provide counsel to help it “regain the public’s trust.”

Though the NHTSA is pushing for Takata to recall every driver-side airbag possibly affected by the quality issues at the center of the current regional recall, Automotive News says the agency isn’t in a hurry to do the same for passenger-side airbags. Friedman informed the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade in a written statement that such a recall “is not supported by the data as we now understand it. At this point, a national recall of all Takata air bags would divert replacement air bags from areas where they are clearly needed, putting lives at risk.” That said, if the supplier’s test data proves otherwise, the agency may demand a recall for those airbags, as well.

Over in Japan, a Takata airbag exploded in a 2003 Toyota WiLL Cypha at the Chikamatsu Shokai Co. scrapyard in the Gifu prefecture. Manager Akihiro Wakayama was caught off-guard by the explosion, as the car in question was not among the models already under recall:

I was surprised once again because the unusual explosion occurred in a vehicle that we were told to be safe. That made me think we really don’t know what we can trust to do our work safely.

The WiLL Cypha’s airbag detonation marks the seventh occurrence of junkyard detonations in Japan since June 2012, with the first six occurring among four Honda Fit and two Toyota Corolla models in July of that year. The incidences prior to the Cypha’s — all occurring during detonation procedures as prescribed by the nation’s Automotive Recycling Law prior to scrapping — led to an additional 3 million units being recalled globally.

Speaking of Toyota and Honda, The Detroit News says the two Japanese automakers are calling for a coordinated effort among the entire industry to independently test Takata’s airbags for defects. Both companies issued separate statements to Takata and eight other manufacturers — including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors — asking them to commit to the effort. Ford said it would heed Toyota’s call, with Chrysler Group proclaiming it would “remain committed to identifying the root cause” of the malfunctions, and GM taking the call “under NHTSA guidance.”

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NHTSA: GM Has Enough Parts To Repair All Affected By February 2014 Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-gm-enough-parts-repair-affected-february-2014-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/nhtsa-gm-enough-parts-repair-affected-february-2014-ignition-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955009 Do you or yours happen to own one of the models affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall? The automaker finally has a replacement ready at your convenience. AutoGuide reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a notice stating GM has all of the parts needed to repair every one of […]

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Do you or yours happen to own one of the models affected by the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall? The automaker finally has a replacement ready at your convenience.

AutoGuide reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a notice stating GM has all of the parts needed to repair every one of the 2.66 million vehicles covered by the recall, and is urging owners to bring their vehicles in as soon as possible. GM added that it will help owners schedule repairs after work and on weekends, with the procedure to take 90 minutes.

Presently, approximately 1 million units still need to come in, with the automaker proclaiming 60 percent of all vehicles under the original recall have been fixed. The vehicles in question are the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion, 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, 2006-2011 Chevrolet HHR, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice, 2007-2010 Pontiac G5, and 2007-2011 Saturn Sky.

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Uber Hitting E-Class Taxi Roadblock In Germany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uber-hitting-e-class-taxi-roadblock-germany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/uber-hitting-e-class-taxi-roadblock-germany/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954649 Uber is having a hard time breaking into the German livery market, and not just for its business model. According to Bloomberg, Germans prefer their taxis — 60 percent of which consist of Mercedes products, including the E and S classes — over Uber’s Volkswagen Golfs and lower-cost fleet vehicles. The taxis are also younger […]

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Uber is having a hard time breaking into the German livery market, and not just for its business model.

According to Bloomberg, Germans prefer their taxis — 60 percent of which consist of Mercedes products, including the E and S classes — over Uber’s Volkswagen Golfs and lower-cost fleet vehicles. The taxis are also younger — average age of 3.5 years — and more luxurious, as well.

Familiarity — or lack thereof — is another factor in grabbing mind share. Berlin-based consultant Boris Knoblich says that while Uber’s lower fares are attractive, he didn’t know “anything about those drivers or the cars they’re driving.” Per Die Zeit, 73 percent of Germans feel the same way, showing no interest in the transportation network company, even if its fares are lower.

Uber’s German boss, Fabian Nestmann, is attempting to change those opinions and to bring the fleet on par with the taxis. Regarding the latter, Uber is considering making direct deals with automakers for newer, higher-quality vehicles. Nestmann also suggested in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung last month that the German government drop mandatory health checks or local geography testing for tax drivers, likely to help his company make further in-roads into the market.

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France Begins Divorce Proceedings Against Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/france-begins-divorce-proceedings-diesel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/france-begins-divorce-proceedings-diesel/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954617 For the longest time, France loved the diesel. Alas, the thrill has gone away. Just-Auto reports the French government introduced a program aimed at removing the most polluting vehicles — diesel-powered passenger vehicles in particular — from the roadways, along with provisions for local officials to limit access to said vehicles. Prime minister Manuel Valls […]

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2006 Peugeot 908 RC Concept

For the longest time, France loved the diesel. Alas, the thrill has gone away.

Just-Auto reports the French government introduced a program aimed at removing the most polluting vehicles — diesel-powered passenger vehicles in particular — from the roadways, along with provisions for local officials to limit access to said vehicles. Prime minister Manuel Valls laid it out as such:

In France, we have long favoured the diesel engine. This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically.

Presently, 80 percent of the nation’s drivers operate diesel-powered vehicles, thanks to the lower price for the fuel over gasoline. Thus, to encourage them to consider more eco-friendly options, the government will raise the excise tax on diesel to €2 ($2.50 USD) per liter, and will begin in 2015 to identify vehicles by the amount of pollution they produce. Further, energy minister Segolene Royal introduced earlier in 2014 a tax credit of up to €10,000 ($13,500) for exchanging their diesels for an electric vehicle, while other subsidies linked to the new plan will help drivers in anti-pollution areas convert their old diesels.

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Hearings, Recalls Et Al Darken Takata’s Doorstep http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/hearings-recalls-et-al-darken-takatas-doorstep/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/hearings-recalls-et-al-darken-takatas-doorstep/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 14:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954497 Takata and those associated with its airbag recall crisis are heading back into the fire this week, one that could grow into a firestorm soon enough. Detroit Free Press reports the supplier is expected to submit its responses to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration detailing how and when it knew of the first signs […]

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Billboard advertisement of Takata Corp is pictured in Tokyo

Takata and those associated with its airbag recall crisis are heading back into the fire this week, one that could grow into a firestorm soon enough.

Detroit Free Press reports the supplier is expected to submit its responses to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration detailing how and when it knew of the first signs of trouble regarding its airbags, as well as the delay in reporting the defects to the agency. Further, Takata will be asked how long it will take to replace the airbags of 7.8 million affected vehicles with safer units; competitors Autoliv and TRW Automotive have previously stated they would help supply replacements.

The NHTSA issued an order last week that the supplier recall those units nationwide by December 2, with resistance to be met with a mandatory recall that could take months and several hearings to make happen. The agency is also in the process of replacing current deputy administrator David Friedman with Obama nominee Mark Rosekind, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before taking over.

Finally, Takata and Friedman will also give testimony in a second round of congressional hearings before the lame-duck Congress calls it a day for the rest of the year.

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Toyota: Don’t Drink The (Mirai’s) Water http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-dont-drink-mirais-water/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-dont-drink-mirais-water/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954449 Want to literally taste the future? Toyota would like for you to reconsider that notion. Automotive News reports the 2016 Toyota Mirai’s exhaust — consisting of water vapor and heat — may have “much fewer organic impurities” than milk, per the FCV’s fuel stack power generator designer, Seiji Mizuno, but what impurities the byproduct does […]

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2016 Toyota Mirai

Want to literally taste the future? Toyota would like for you to reconsider that notion.

Automotive News reports the 2016 Toyota Mirai’s exhaust — consisting of water vapor and heat — may have “much fewer organic impurities” than milk, per the FCV’s fuel stack power generator designer, Seiji Mizuno, but what impurities the byproduct does have depend on what passed through the stack in the first place:

Depending on the place you are driving, some parts of the world might have certain issues, such as organisms like E. coli, which could be hazardous to your health. You never know what the quality of the air intake is.

That said, if you are interested/desperate enough to wonder if the Mirai produces Evian, you’ll be happy to know that the water is said to be “slightly acidic,” with a pH of 5 to 6, just below the levels found in acid rain and beer.

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Toyota’s LFA Works Now Home To Mirai FCV Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-lfa-works-now-home-mirai-fcv-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-lfa-works-now-home-mirai-fcv-production/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=952529 Remember when Herr Schmitt took us for a TTAC exclusive into the workshop that made the Lexus LFA? It’s now the home of the Toyota Mirai. Automotive News reports Toyota gave its FCV to the LFA Works — located behind the Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Japan — because the facility’s attention to detail and […]

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2016-toyota-mirai-front-three-quarters-03

Remember when Herr Schmitt took us for a TTAC exclusive into the workshop that made the Lexus LFA? It’s now the home of the Toyota Mirai.

Automotive News reports Toyota gave its FCV to the LFA Works — located behind the Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Japan — because the facility’s attention to detail and better tools (i.e., hands) than any of the more “ultra-efficient,” machine-powered factories under the automaker’s watch.

Because of the Mirai’s hand-built nature — the powertrain and other components are assembled in Toyota’s Honsha plant, then brought over to the LFA Works for final assembly — executive vice president for domestic sales Masamoto Maekawa warns supplies will be limited, with only 700 planned for the first year, 200 of which are already on-order:

Each unit is carefully built with utmost care. So therefore, the production volume might be limited. During the initial stages, delivery time might be delayed. The 200 orders are mostly from government and corporate fleets.

Prior to the Mirai, the small workshop made limited-edition models, including a $10,000, 100-unit run of carbon fiber bicycles marketed to well-off Lexus owners, a carbon-fiber roof for special performance variant of the Toyota Mark X, and of course, the 500 LFAs assembled between 2010 and 2012.

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Toyota Recalls 57K Over Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyota-recalls-57k-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyota-recalls-57k-takata-airbags/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=952505 Toyota issued Thursday a global recall of 57,000 vehicles affected by the Takata airbag crisis. Reuters reports the majority of the vehicles — 40,000 — were sold in the automaker’s home market of Japan, while 6,000 are in Europe and the rest scattered around the world excluding the North American market. The models affected are […]

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2003 Toyota RAV4

Toyota issued Thursday a global recall of 57,000 vehicles affected by the Takata airbag crisis.

Reuters reports the majority of the vehicles — 40,000 — were sold in the automaker’s home market of Japan, while 6,000 are in Europe and the rest scattered around the world excluding the North American market. The models affected are the Vitz/Yaris and the RAV4, and were assembled between December 2002 and March 2004.

Additionally, Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu recalled 27,571 Miras assembled for sale in Japan between December 2002 and May 2003 for the same issue, marking the brand’s first Takata-related recall.

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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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Japanese-government-weighs-in-on-Takata-airbag-debacle

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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Texas Woman Exonerated Due To GM Ignition Switch Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/texas-woman-exonerated-due-gm-ignition-switch-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/texas-woman-exonerated-due-gm-ignition-switch-recall/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950953 A Texas woman was exonerated when a seven-year-old negligent homicide conviction was overturned due to evidence linking the conviction to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall. Automotive News reports Candice Anderson was cleared in the death of her boyfriend in 2004, which happened in her Saturn Ion. Though police stated Anderson was under […]

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Saturn_Ion_sedan

A Texas woman was exonerated when a seven-year-old negligent homicide conviction was overturned due to evidence linking the conviction to the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall.

Automotive News reports Candice Anderson was cleared in the death of her boyfriend in 2004, which happened in her Saturn Ion. Though police stated Anderson was under the influence of illegal drugs at the time of the accident — leading to the conviction in 2007 — both the prosecutors and the state trooper who investigated the accident conceded that she had nothing to do with what occurred, citing the ignition switch at the center of the recall as evidence.

Her boyfriend, Gene Mikale Erickson, was one of the original 13 fatalities GM linked to the recall, with its own investigation turning up a May 2007 report linking his death to the failed deployment of airbags due to a loss of power, likely caused by the troubled ignition switch.

Though having previously settled with the automaker in 2008 for $75,000 — most of which paid legal fees and provided for Erickson’s two daughters from a previous relationship, as per the terms of the plea bargain — Anderson may have more to gain, having submitted paperwork for her and on Erickson’s behalf to the victim compensation program operated by the office of Kenneth Feinberg. She is weighing her options, however, as she would waive her right to sue upon acceptance, though any lawsuits would already be hindered by GM’s 2009 bankruptcy protections.

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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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honda-ridgeline-2006-001

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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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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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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takata-corp

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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