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. Thu, 03 Sep 2015 19:10:42 +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 » Quality http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/quality/ Toyota Wants $500 From Canadian Owners To Fix Odometers (Video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-wants-500-canadian-owners-fix-odometers-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-wants-500-canadian-owners-fix-odometers-video/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 20:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1155522 Owners of some Toyota cars in Canada say that the Japanese automaker is asking them to foot the bill for replacement odometers due to a glitch that won’t allow the gauges to roll over after 299,999 kilometers, CTV is reporting (via AutoFocus). The glitchy odometers are found in 2003-2008 Toyota Matrix and Corolla models, and […]

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Toyota Odometer Stuck

Owners of some Toyota cars in Canada say that the Japanese automaker is asking them to foot the bill for replacement odometers due to a glitch that won’t allow the gauges to roll over after 299,999 kilometers, CTV is reporting (via AutoFocus).

The glitchy odometers are found in 2003-2008 Toyota Matrix and Corolla models, and some 2004 and 2005 Toyota Prius models.

There are a few videos on YouTube of people expecting to hit 300,000, but they never do.

We reached out to a Toyota spokesman in the U.S. but haven’t heard back. According to the CTV report, Toyota is replacing the odometer but asking owners to pay for the replacement (for now).

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BREAKING: Finicky Mazda Remote Start App Has Stopped Working, Power Outage Blamed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/mazda-remote-start-app-stopped-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/mazda-remote-start-app-stopped-now/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:05:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154985 Mazda’s remote start app, which the automaker rolled out last month, has been suspended until Sept. 2 while the automaker restores its servers, the automaker said in an email Thursday to owners. … we regret to inform you that, due to a system outage at our supplier’s data center, the MMS website and smartphone application […]

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Mazda Mobile Start

Mazda’s remote start app, which the automaker rolled out last month, has been suspended until Sept. 2 while the automaker restores its servers, the automaker said in an email Thursday to owners.

… we regret to inform you that, due to a system outage at our supplier’s data center, the MMS website and smartphone application are currently unavailable. We anticipate full system recovery on September 2, 2015.

The email notice stated the service was crippled by a “power outage that affected the data servers.”

Mazda says that users’ data wasn’t compromised in the outage. Early adopters reported to Mazda that the system was particularly slow to start their cars — in some cases taking a minute or longer — and that its app was particularly finicky.

We reached out to Mazda to see if all users are affected and what exactly went wrong with its data center to cause the power outage, but haven’t heard back.

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What’s Going on With The New Maxima? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/whats-going-new-maxima/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/whats-going-new-maxima/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 22:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151721 Nissan’s new Maxima, which went on sale earlier this year, has already had a bumpy road. Last week, the automaker announced it would be recalling around 6,000 cars for an improperly installed fuel tank 0-ring that could leak and ignite after a crash, according to AutoGuide. Nissan hasn’t identified a fix for the problem yet. […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima (18 of 23)

Nissan’s new Maxima, which went on sale earlier this year, has already had a bumpy road.

Last week, the automaker announced it would be recalling around 6,000 cars for an improperly installed fuel tank 0-ring that could leak and ignite after a crash, according to AutoGuide. Nissan hasn’t identified a fix for the problem yet.

That may be in addition to (or the reason for) a stop-sale on the Maxima in July for an unspecified “quality assurance” problem with the cars. We reached out to Nissan for a comment and have yet to hear back. 

Early owners have reported minor problems including moon roof noises, headlight issues and electronic woes.

This isn’t the first generation of Maxima models produced in Smyrna, Tennessee, nor is it the only model that plant produces. But any further hiccups in initial quality could damage the car’s tenuous position.

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Chevrolet To Z06 Owners: Change Your Oil, Stat! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chevrolet-telling-corvette-z06-owners-change-oil-500-miles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/chevrolet-telling-corvette-z06-owners-change-oil-500-miles/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 19:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1142305 Last time we checked in on the reportedly fussy Corvette Z06 engine, it was leaking vital fluids after Fox News reporter Gary Gastelu took it to the track.  Now it appears that Chevrolet has a fix for at least one of the Z06’s reported engine problems: change the oil, stat. According to a General Motors […]

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2015-Chevrolet-CorvetteZ06-003-sm

Last time we checked in on the reportedly fussy Corvette Z06 engine, it was leaking vital fluids after Fox News reporter Gary Gastelu took it to the track. 

Now it appears that Chevrolet has a fix for at least one of the Z06’s reported engine problems: change the oil, stat.

According to a General Motors spokesman, the catastrophic engine failures all seem to have three things in common: early production builds, oil contamination and low miles (under 2,000).

(Maybe that explains the one that bought the farm at 891 miles.)

According to Chevrolet, contaminants in the oil can cycle through the engine during break-in, causing all sorts of fun for owners. (We haven’t heard official word from some owners as to what exactly went wrong, but we’re efforting.)

On its own, Chevrolet said that it was upgrading its manufacturing process to minimize the risk of contaminating the oil. The cause could be thread shavings for the oil filter which may have made their way into the oil pan when the threads were tapped.

As a result, Chevrolet is asking owners to ditch the break-in oil quickly.

“We now encourage all owners to change their oil at 500 miles to remove possible contaminants created during the engine break-in process. And, as always, we encourage the use of Mobil 1 synthetic oil – which is a factory fill for all Z06 models, and Stingray Z51 models – and encourage owners to follow the engine break-in process detailed in the owner’s manual,” stated Monte Doran, spokesman for Chevrolet.

Owners are still reporting heat soak issues and intermittent power steering problems.

Chevrolet says less than one percent of the 9,000 Z06 models on the road have had engine troubles.

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Falling Light Poles Have Bay Area People Pissed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/falling-light-poles-bay-area-people-pissed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/falling-light-poles-bay-area-people-pissed/#comments Fri, 07 Aug 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135906 Decades of (hopefully) dog urine have sped corrosion at the base of Bay Area light poles and four posts have fallen over in a pee-soaked heap, KTVU is reporting (via Boing Boing). No injuries have been reported due to the terrible tinkle tumbles. City officials have replaced 160 poles on several streets due to corrosion on the […]

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lightpole_pee

Decades of (hopefully) dog urine have sped corrosion at the base of Bay Area light poles and four posts have fallen over in a pee-soaked heap, KTVU is reporting (via Boing Boing). No injuries have been reported due to the terrible tinkle tumbles.

City officials have replaced 160 poles on several streets due to corrosion on the aging poles. One collapsed pole Monday damaged a car.

The massive eroding power of urine, and probably thinner metal — which doesn’t have the alliterative power of pee-pee poles plunging — are to blame.

The falling poles are only part of the problem. San Francisco officials are combatting public urination with hydrophobic paint on favorite public peeing stations.

Reminder: We live in a civilized society, people. Pee on the cast-iron hydrants.

(Photo courtesy KTVU)

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IIHS: Not All Ford F-150s Are Built Just As Tough http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/iihs-not-ford-f-150s-built-just-tough/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/iihs-not-ford-f-150s-built-just-tough/#comments Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1129193 Automotive News is reporting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will rate versions of Ford’s F-150 pickup with dramatically different safety ratings after re-testing versions of the pickup, which is a highly unusual move for the safety nonprofit. The SuperCrew cab version of the F-150 earned the highest marks from the IIHS in its small overlap […]

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2015_Ford_F-150_Pickup_Truck

Automotive News is reporting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety will rate versions of Ford’s F-150 pickup with dramatically different safety ratings after re-testing versions of the pickup, which is a highly unusual move for the safety nonprofit.

The SuperCrew cab version of the F-150 earned the highest marks from the IIHS in its small overlap crash test, earning a Top Safety Pick rating. The re-tested SuperCab registers only a “marginal” rating in the same crash.

The difference, according to Automotive News, are tubular frames called “wheel blockers” installed on the SuperCrew, but missing from the SuperCab and Regular Cab models.

David Zuby, who is the chief research officer for the IIHS, said that the crash ratings between different cab versions could give buyers the wrong impression.

“(It) shortchanges buyers who might pick the extended cab thinking it offers the same protection in this type of crash as the crew cab,” Zuby told Automotive News.

A Ford spokesman said the company would look into adding additional safety measures into the Regular Cab and SuperCab versions of the F-150 for 2016.

The wheel blockers present on the SuperCrew, but missing on the SuperCab and Regular Cab, significantly varied the trucks’ performances on the small overlap crash test. In the follow-up test conducted on the SuperCab, the “intruding structure seriously compromised the driver’s survival space,” the IIHS told Automotive News.

The notoriously difficult small overlap test has been particularly difficult for automakers to solve. It’s unclear why Ford put the wheel blockers on the SuperCrew, but not the SuperCab and Regular Cab. Zuby offered a possible solution.

“I think automakers are trying to design the vehicles to offer the best protection for their customers,” he told Automotive News. “But occasionally, we do see evidence that maybe they are trying to get a good rating in a test, maybe without looking for a completely holistic solution.”

The IIHS tests only high-volume models. Historically the SuperCab and Regular Cab models only comprised 25 and 5 percent of sales respectively.

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Nissan Halts Sales on Some Maximas for Quality Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-halts-sales-maximas-quality-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-halts-sales-maximas-quality-issues/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 18:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124145 Nissan has told its dealers to stop selling specific models of the Maxima due to unspecified quality issue, Automotive News is reporting. The issue involves Maximas with a specific VIN, not a model type. It’s unclear if those cars have been delivered to dealers or customers. According to Automotive News, Nissan hasn’t identified how many models […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima (18 of 23)

Nissan has told its dealers to stop selling specific models of the Maxima due to unspecified quality issue, Automotive News is reporting.

The issue involves Maximas with a specific VIN, not a model type. It’s unclear if those cars have been delivered to dealers or customers. According to Automotive News, Nissan hasn’t identified how many models would be affected by the stop-sale, nor how many of the models may have already been sold.

Nissan hasn’t made available details about the VIN number or how to identify the held cars.

A Denver-area Nissan dealer said he wasn’t aware of the stop-sale at all.

A Nissan spokesman told Automotive News that the company would investigate the issue further before making any public statements.

“Nissan is committed to a high level of customer service and satisfaction,” the company said in a statement to Automotive News. “This commitment requires Nissan to periodically place certain specific vehicles on a temporary Quality Assurance Hold to assure that these vehicles, as delivered to our customers, meet our exacting standards and our customers’ expectations.”

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Fiat Chrysler Tops Annual ‘Total Quality’ Survey http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-tops-annual-total-quality-survey/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-tops-annual-total-quality-survey/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 16:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118545 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earned the top spot overall in an annual survey of new car quality. Strategic Vision, a San Diego-based research firm, ranked FCA No. 1 for the first time since the company began measuring customer satisfaction in 1995. Last year, Kia earned top honors. FCA had six cars that topped their respective segments, […]

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FCA US HQ

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles earned the top spot overall in an annual survey of new car quality.

Strategic Vision, a San Diego-based research firm, ranked FCA No. 1 for the first time since the company began measuring customer satisfaction in 1995. Last year, Kia earned top honors.

FCA had six cars that topped their respective segments, including the Fiat 500 and 500e; Dodge Charger, Challenger and Durango; and, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

While FCA took the top spot this year, General Motors and Volkswagen followed closely behind, tying for second place, one point behind FCA on a 1,000-point scale.

According to Strategic Vision, 46,000 consumer responses were used for the study, which rated consumer satisfaction along with problems in each vehicle. The Mini Cooper Roadster earned the highest score among new cars. Land Rover was tops among luxury automakers, Ram was first among non-luxury automakers.

BMW had six segment winners including the i3, 3-Series Wagon, X4 and X5; Mini Cooper Roadster and Countryman.

According to the Detroit News, the Total Quality Index study comes out less than a week before the annual J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout survey that last year ranked all FCA brands below industry average.

Of course, TTAC has never really been a big fan of the report anyway.

 

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Volvo Offers Lifetime Warranty on Replacement Parts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-offers-lifetime-warranty-replacement-parts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-offers-lifetime-warranty-replacement-parts/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 20:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112225 Volvo announced today it will warranty any replaced part and labor, not including wear-and-tear items and accessories, for the life of the car. The coverage extends only to service at dealerships. Volvo owners will pay for the initial replacement parts and labor on vehicles with expired warranties, but Volvo will pay for any additional service on that part for as long as […]

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163787_Volvo_XC90_at_the_Swedish_Royal_Wedding

Volvo announced today it will warranty any replaced part and labor, not including wear-and-tear items and accessories, for the life of the car. The coverage extends only to service at dealerships.

Volvo owners will pay for the initial replacement parts and labor on vehicles with expired warranties, but Volvo will pay for any additional service on that part for as long as the owner has the car. The parts warranty covers all models from all years and will be honored at all North American Volvo dealerships, according to the automaker.

“The lifetime parts and labor warranty is a commitment to both quality vehicles and quality customer relationships,” Lex Kerssemakers, President and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America said in a statement. “Everyone should feel confident that Volvo is here to support our customers throughout the ownership of their vehicle.”

The parts warranty is part of Volvo’s larger service program that includes roadside assistance, software upgrades and the ever-important, free carwash.

With an upcoming U.S. plant, perhaps Volvo will save on shipping costs.

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FCA Defects from Takata, Finds Solace with TRW for Airbag Inflators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-defects-from-takata-finds-solace-with-trw-for-airbag-inflators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-defects-from-takata-finds-solace-with-trw-for-airbag-inflators/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 17:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097793 FCA, looking a 4.1 million unit recall in the face thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, will source replacements from a rival, ZF-owned TRW Automotive. The Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram parent will be the first company to refuse to toe the line. While the announcement has not yet been made official, The Detroit News obtained “copies of the written […]

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FCA US HQ

FCA, looking a 4.1 million unit recall in the face thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, will source replacements from a rival, ZF-owned TRW Automotive.

The Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram parent will be the first company to refuse to toe the line.

While the announcement has not yet been made official, The Detroit News obtained “copies of the written testimony from the executives ahead of Tuesday’s hearing” before the Senate Commerce Committee.

Scott G. Kunselman, FCA U.S. senior vice president and head of vehicle safety and regulatory compliance, said in written testimony the company is “replacing all driver-side inflators involved in the recall with an alternate and permanent design provided by TRW,” effective June 8.

That does not mean FCA is leaving Takata full stop. The two companies are working together to improve passenger airbag inflators, says the report.

A total of eleven automakers have been affected by the recalls.

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Report: NHTSA Failed Consumers Over Automotive Safety http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/report-nhtsa-failed-consumers-over-automotive-safety/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/report-nhtsa-failed-consumers-over-automotive-safety/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1097473 Last Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General dropped the sledgehammer on the NHTSA over its failings in automotive safety. The 42-page report released to the public Monday says the agency fails to do all it can to promote automotive safety, from carefully reviewing safety issues and holding automakers accountable for potential problems, […]

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BMW 325Ci on Fire

Last Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General dropped the sledgehammer on the NHTSA over its failings in automotive safety.

The 42-page report released to the public Monday says the agency fails to do all it can to promote automotive safety, from carefully reviewing safety issues and holding automakers accountable for potential problems, to carefully collecting data and properly training its employees, The Detroit News reports.

The report — the result of the NHTSA’s stumblings surrounding the February 2014 General Motors ignition switch recall crisis — notes the agency ignored complaints as early as 2003 from consumers regarding air bag deployment failures in certain GM models over the years.

The issue isn’t out of the ordinary, unfortunately, as the agency was found to ignore 90 percent of all consumer complaints arriving daily. The screeners responsible for reading them spent mere “seconds” on each complaint, with one screener having gone over 78,000 in one year — 330/day — while working in other duties.

Regarding self-reporting from automakers, the NHTSA isn’t doing all it can to determine accuracy in what is reported. According to Jalopnik, what everyone else would call a fire, manufactures call it something else:

However, according to [NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation] staff, manufacturers routinely miscategorize safety incidents. For example, staff told us that some manufacturers avoid using the word “fire” in non-dealer field reports and instead use phrases such as “strange odor” to avoid categorizing an incident as fire-related.

The Inspector General’s report lists 17 major recommendations needed to extensively reform the NHTSA, reforms administrator Mark Rosekind plans to “aggressively implement” by June 2016. Rosekind and the Inspector General, Calvin Scovel, are among those set to testify before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Tuesday on automotive safety.

(Photo credit: Tony Webster/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

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Koreans Best Japan In 2015 JD Power Initial Quality Study http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/koreans-best-japan-in-2015-jd-power-initial-quality-study/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/koreans-best-japan-in-2015-jd-power-initial-quality-study/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 20:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1095457 Once one of the bests among the rests, Japanese automakers fell below average in the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study as the Koreans rise in quality. While Porsche took the gold in initial quality for the third consecutive year, Kia took the silver in this year’s study, Detroit Free Press reports, marking the first […]

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2016 Kia Sorento SXL

Once one of the bests among the rests, Japanese automakers fell below average in the 2015 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study as the Koreans rise in quality.

While Porsche took the gold in initial quality for the third consecutive year, Kia took the silver in this year’s study, Detroit Free Press reports, marking the first time the brand has led all non-premium makes in the study; Hyundai held onto fourth behind Jaguar in 2015.

Meanwhile, Lexus tied with parent company Toyota for ninth with 104 problems per 100 units, with Infiniti finishing in fifth as the highest-ranked Japanese brand; it had placed 24th in 2014, five spots below the industry average of 116 problems per 100 units. Chevrolet took seventh as the highest-ranked U.S. mainstream brand, while Lincoln took eighth as the highest-ranked U.S. luxury brand.

According to J.D. Power U.S. automotive quality chief Renee Stephens, the shift in quality among the Koreans “was a historic shift” in the 29 years the study has been conducted:

For so long, Japanese brands have been viewed by many as the gold standard in vehicle quality. We’re seeing other brands, most notably Korean makes, really accelerating the rate of improvement. Leading companies are not only stepping up the pace of improvements on existing models, but are also working up front to launch vehicles with higher quality and more intuitive designs.

She adds the Koreans are where they are now due to their holistic approach in improving quality, from the assembly line, to design and the supply chain.

Technology remains the sticking point regarding initial quality, with the top problems being pairing smartphones to the vehicle’s infotainment system, and voice command. There, Stephens says Hyundai and Kia, as well as Chevrolet, benefitted from strong systems, while Ford has worked out the bugs, and Toyota’s system needed improvement:

Smartphones have set high consumer expectations of how well technology should work, and automakers are struggling to match that success in their new vehicles. However, we are seeing some (automakers) make important improvements along the way. What’s clear is that they can’t afford to wait for the next generation of models to launch before making important updates to these systems.

This year’s J.D. Initial Quality Study surveyed over 84,000 who bought or leased a new 2015 model, and covers 215 models and 139 plants.

Photo credit: Kia

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Fatal Accident In Louisiana Could Be Seventh Linked To Takata Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fatal-accident-in-louisiana-could-be-seventh-linked-to-takata-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fatal-accident-in-louisiana-could-be-seventh-linked-to-takata-airbag-recall/#comments Thu, 11 Jun 2015 18:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1090689 A fatal accident in Louisiana involving a Takata-equipped Honda may be the seventh fatality linked to the supplier’s ongoing airbag crisis. Kylan Langlinais of Lafayette, La. lost her life in early April of this year when her 2005 Honda Civic crashed into a utility pole at 4 a.m., Bloomberg says, at which point the driver-side […]

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Takata Agua Prieta Mexico Facility

A fatal accident in Louisiana involving a Takata-equipped Honda may be the seventh fatality linked to the supplier’s ongoing airbag crisis.

Kylan Langlinais of Lafayette, La. lost her life in early April of this year when her 2005 Honda Civic crashed into a utility pole at 4 a.m., Bloomberg says, at which point the driver-side airbag catastrophically deployed, spraying metal shrapnel throughout the cabin.

As noted in the complaint filed in federal court Monday, a recall notice for her Honda arrived in the mail two days after the crash, two days before her passing.

The most recent fatality linked to Takata’s airbags came in January, when Carlos Solis IV of Spring, Texas lost his life following a crash in his 2002 Honda Accord, marking the fourth fatal accident in the United States reported by Honda prior to Langlinais’ accident. Three other confirmed deaths, another under investigation, and at least 60 injuries were also reported by the automaker for the U.S. market, while another fatality was confirmed in Malaysia.

The report of a new accident possibly linked to Takata comes nearly a month after the supplier admitted as many as 34 million vehicles in the U.S. could be affected, leading to one of the largest product recalls in U.S. history.

[Photo credit: Takata]

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US Attorney’s Office Consider Charging General Motors With Criminal Wire Fraud http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-attorneys-office-consider-charging-general-motors-with-criminal-wire-fraud/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/us-attorneys-office-consider-charging-general-motors-with-criminal-wire-fraud/#comments Wed, 10 Jun 2015 15:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1088961 Federal prosecutors in New York are considering criminal wire fraud charges against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition recall. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are also considering other charges against GM, though they hope to reach a settlement with the automaker by late summer or […]

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Renaissance Center At Night Circa January 2011

Federal prosecutors in New York are considering criminal wire fraud charges against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition recall.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are also considering other charges against GM, though they hope to reach a settlement with the automaker by late summer or early fall of this year, Reuters reports.

The basis for the wire fraud claim is linked to the prosecutors’ findings suggesting GM possibly hid information about the defects in the ignition switches installed in 2.66 million vehicles made in the early through mid-2000s, as well as made misleading statements on the issue.

The yet-to-be-finalized action is one more legal action GM has on its plate, following numerous civil lawsuits, over 4,300 compensation claims, and an ongoing criminal probe set to conclude the interview phase by October.

As far as settlements with the government are concerned involving the wire fraud charge, CEO Mary Barra informed shareholders her company fully cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and any settlements to be made would occur on the company’s timeline.

[Photo credit: John Marino/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Google Wades Carefully Into Connected-Vehicle Waters With Android Auto http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/google-wades-carefully-into-connected-vehicle-waters-with-android-auto/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/google-wades-carefully-into-connected-vehicle-waters-with-android-auto/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 19:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087737 Though Google’s Android OS may be awash with numerous apps, Android Auto goes for a more limited approach in the name of traffic safety. Appearing in the showrooms of Hyundai, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and other automakers this summer, Android Auto will only have 35 apps available for the time being, Automotive News reports. The limitation is […]

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2016-Chevrolet-Spark-Android-Auto-013

Though Google’s Android OS may be awash with numerous apps, Android Auto goes for a more limited approach in the name of traffic safety.

Appearing in the showrooms of Hyundai, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and other automakers this summer, Android Auto will only have 35 apps available for the time being, Automotive News reports. The limitation is part of Google’s effort to carefully enter the realm of connected-vehicle technology, especially when it comes to minimizing distraction while on the road.

Thus, Google’s finest minds have created templates to which third-party apps must adhere, with streaming audio apps Audible, Pandora and Spotify, as well as messaging apps WhatsApp, WeChat and Telegram all pass with flying colors. The templates use a common button layout and a new common typeface called Roboto, both intended to minimize constant learning of new apps via standardized controls, thus preventing distractions in so doing.

While Google is moving steadily into the water, automakers are doing the same with Android Auto. Audi in particular has tested over 10 exclusive apps since early 2014, including ones which would track traffic history and help off-roaders tackle obstacles in the next-gen Q7. Thus far, none are ready for prime time. Meanwhile, Hyundai is first out of the gate with the connected-vehicle system aboard the 2015 Sonata, with the first models and over-the-air updates coming this month.

[Photo credit: Chevrolet]

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NHTSA Facing The Music Over Role In 2014 GM Ignition Recall Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nhtsa-facing-the-music-over-role-in-2014-gm-ignition-recall-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/nhtsa-facing-the-music-over-role-in-2014-gm-ignition-recall-crisis/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1087617 A year after General Motors went under the gun for its part of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis, the NHTSA is now facing the music for the rest. According to two internal reports released last Friday from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency failed several times to prevent the defective ignition switch found […]

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GMIgnitionAndSwitchAssembly02(1)

A year after General Motors went under the gun for its part of the February 2014 ignition recall crisis, the NHTSA is now facing the music for the rest.

According to two internal reports released last Friday from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the agency failed several times to prevent the defective ignition switch found in certain GM models from being repaired for over a decade, says The New York Times.

While the reports did lay the majority of the blame on GM, the blunt assessment of the NHTSA’s part of the story is now leading to improvements and revisions with the agency’s methodology into potential safety problems. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx confirmed as much during a conference call with reporters following the release of the reports, acknowledging “deficits” in the methodology, and admitting there was “room for self-improvement.”

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind added he had not disciplined or dismissed any officials involved in the GM recall, but did note the improper handling of the situation “changed the culture” at the agency to the point where questioning the information received and assumptions pursued were encouraged.

The changes planned for the agency including putting automakers “on notice” without the need for gathering more evidence beforehand if a potential problem comes up, adopting a so-called “risk control” program to better align its departments and foster sharing of safety information, and instituting a formal process to contact lawyers representing affected litigants.

Finally, the NHTSA will be monitored by a team of experts over the next year, including those formerly of NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as a professor of medicine and engineering from the University of Michigan.

The two reports are only the first to give the agency the once-over; the Transportation Department inspector general will give their assessment later in June.

[Photo credit: General Motors]

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FCA Set To Meet NHTSA Over Recalls Despite Desire To Cancel Hearing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-set-to-meet-nhtsa-over-recalls-despite-desire-to-cancel-hearing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/fca-set-to-meet-nhtsa-over-recalls-despite-desire-to-cancel-hearing/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 20:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085601 Though FCA insists its compliance with the NHTSA over its recalls no longer merits a hearing, the agency will press forward with its order. The automaker is set to meet the agency for a special hearing July 2 to discuss its handling of 20 recalls covering 11 million vehicles since 2013, Detroit Free Press reports, […]

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2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited V6 Exterior-013

Though FCA insists its compliance with the NHTSA over its recalls no longer merits a hearing, the agency will press forward with its order.

The automaker is set to meet the agency for a special hearing July 2 to discuss its handling of 20 recalls covering 11 million vehicles since 2013, Detroit Free Press reports, and was sent a 12-page questionnaire to answer by June 1. FCA sent an 18-page response back to the NHTSA, giving details on its safety record, repair completion rates, and how it will handle safety concerns moving forward.

Thus, FCA believes a meeting the NHTSA is no longer necessary. However, NHTSA representative Gordon Trowbridge said the hearing will go on as planned, explaining the procedure “is a part of the process for determining whether the company has met its obligations.”

The agency itself praised FCA Thursday for its compliance with the order and thoroughness it was undertaken, while the automaker said it has taken a number of actions to improve product safety, including reviews of the recall process and creating a stand-alone organization to help with safety and compliance.

[Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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Takata, NHTSA Face Uncertainty Over Safety Of Replacement Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takata-nhtsa-face-uncertainty-over-safety-of-replacement-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takata-nhtsa-face-uncertainty-over-safety-of-replacement-airbags/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085529 Neither Takata nor the NHTSA can say for certain how many of the 34 million vehicles now under recall for defective airbags need theirs replaced. What is known is 400,000 of the driver-side replacement inflators — out of 4 million produced so far — will need to be replaced again due to a defective propellant […]

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Takata Driver Airbag

Neither Takata nor the NHTSA can say for certain how many of the 34 million vehicles now under recall for defective airbags need theirs replaced.

What is known is 400,000 of the driver-side replacement inflators — out of 4 million produced so far — will need to be replaced again due to a defective propellant wafer, Reuters reports. Another 500,000 units were found to be safe, as those were assembled for Takata by competitors Autoliv and TRW Automotive, both of whom use a different propellant compared to Takata’s ammonium nitrate mix.

However, determining how many of the 34 million vehicles under recall need new units for original and repaired vehicles is easier said than done. Eight of the 10 automakers affected by Takata’s ongoing airbag issues expanded earlier or created new recalls following last month’s announcement by the supplier regarding the number of affected U.S. vehicles, amounting to only 3.3 million recalled since then.

Further confusion comes from how many repaired vehicles will also need to come in again for a new replacement unit, though Honda said those owners who had their airbags replaced since September 12, 2014 would not need to come back. The automaker explained the replacement units assembled by Takata used a different design made by Takata and other suppliers.

Meanwhile, the NHTSA said Takata and the affected automakers would be the ones responsible for demonstrating the replacement parts would be safe over the life of a given vehicle, with finding those needing to return to the repair shop a priority. Administrator Mark Rosekind told legislators this week owners would be best served by checking with their dealership’s service department for news about their vehicles, adding the replacement issue was “confusing.”

[Photo credit: Alexauto123/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Subaru Funding Crash Tests Of Pet Carriers, Crates http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/subaru-funding-crash-tests-of-pet-carriers-crates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/subaru-funding-crash-tests-of-pet-carriers-crates/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 19:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084473 As part of its effort to keep pets safe on the road, Subaru is funding crash tests of pet carriers and crates. The funding will be directed to the Center for Pet Safety in Reston, Va. according to AutoGuide, who will use the funds to determine structural integrity of every crate and carrier put through […]

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Subaru Impreza Wagon Dog Circa March 2008

As part of its effort to keep pets safe on the road, Subaru is funding crash tests of pet carriers and crates.

The funding will be directed to the Center for Pet Safety in Reston, Va. according to AutoGuide, who will use the funds to determine structural integrity of every crate and carrier put through testing, as well as looking over safer methods to connect crates and carriers to the vehicle.

Subaru’s ongoing partnership with the CPS has thus far resulted in a pet harness crashworthiness test, which put several harnesses through the gauntlet, with few performing as hoped.

The tests will be carried out by MGA Research Corporation’s lab in nearby Manassas, Va., with results and recommendations to come by later this summer.

[Photo credit: Katie Brady/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Rosekind Will Give Prepared Statement Before Congress Over Funding Concerns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/rosekind-will-give-prepared-statement-before-congress-over-funding-concerns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/rosekind-will-give-prepared-statement-before-congress-over-funding-concerns/#comments Tue, 02 Jun 2015 18:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1082161 Testifying before Congress Tuesday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind will give a statement on his agency’s need for funding to properly function. Rosekind’s statement is one among those given by the witnesses called upon by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to testify during its hearing over airbag supplier Takata and the safety […]

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Mark Rosekind At Work With The NTSB Circa January 2015

Testifying before Congress Tuesday, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind will give a statement on his agency’s need for funding to properly function.

Rosekind’s statement is one among those given by the witnesses called upon by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade to testify during its hearing over airbag supplier Takata and the safety issues surrounding the supplier’s airbags, Reuters reports.

His prepared statement will address the NHTSA’s analysis of the data from its investigation into Takata, as well as the aforementioned budget concerns his agency faces. Of the latter, Rosekind said the agency’s budget is, when adjusted for inflation, 23 percent lower than a decade ago, making the agency’s work difficult as technology pushes forward.

[Photo credit: U.S. Department of Transportation/Facebook]

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Shell Introduces New Nitro+ Premium Fuel Nationwide http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/shell-introduces-new-nitro-premium-fuel-nationwide/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/shell-introduces-new-nitro-premium-fuel-nationwide/#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 18:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1081417 Starting Monday, your local Shell station will be offering a new grade of fuel said to increase engine life and boost efficiency, but at a price. According to Shell researcher Ed Nelson, the company’s V-Power Nitro+ claims to add “protection against wear and corrosion to the detergents our gasoline already contains” by adhering to affected […]

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Shell Station In Connecticut Circa August 2014

Starting Monday, your local Shell station will be offering a new grade of fuel said to increase engine life and boost efficiency, but at a price.

According to Shell researcher Ed Nelson, the company’s V-Power Nitro+ claims to add “protection against wear and corrosion to the detergents our gasoline already contains” by adhering to affected parts for better lubrication while keeping water in the gasoline from doing the same for reduced corrosion, Detroit Free Press reports. Nitro+ also claims to have more detergent to prevent waste buildup in the engine.

The new grade will replace the original V-Power premium fuel at Shell stations nationwide, while grades below Nitro+ will have lower quantities of the detergents and other chemicals used with the new premium fuel. No changes to octane are set to occur, though Shell is silent on how much more consumers will pay for Nitro+.

[Photo credit: Mike Mozart/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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FCA, Ford, Honda Expand Respective Takata Airbag Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-ford-honda-expand-respective-takata-airbag-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-ford-honda-expand-respective-takata-airbag-recalls/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 17:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1078090 FCA, Ford and Honda are adding more models to their recalls involving Takata’s airbags, the first following the supplier’s admission on the issue last week. FCA is recalling 1.8 million units equipped with Takata’s airbags, while Ford and Honda are recalling 950,000 and 350,000 units, Automotive News reports. The new recalls follow the supplier’s statement […]

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2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition

FCA, Ford and Honda are adding more models to their recalls involving Takata’s airbags, the first following the supplier’s admission on the issue last week.

FCA is recalling 1.8 million units equipped with Takata’s airbags, while Ford and Honda are recalling 950,000 and 350,000 units, Automotive News reports. The new recalls follow the supplier’s statement last week, where it admitted as many as 34 million vehicles were equipped with defective airbags.

FCA’s recall adds 1.4 million units with driver-side airbags to the 2014 recall of 3.3 million vehicles covering 2004-2007 Dodge Ram pickups, Chrysler 300 and Dodge Dakota, among other models within the timeframe. An additional 437,947 Dodge Rams from the 2003 model year are being recalled for their passenger side airbags.

Over at Ford, 593,000 units will receive recall notices for both driver- and passenger-side airbags. The affected models are the 2005-2014 Mustang built at Flat Rock, the 2005-2006 GT assembled at Wixom, the 2004 Ranger put together at Edison, and the 2004-2006 Ranger brought to life at Twin Cities. The new figure brings the global total to 1.5 million models, of which 1.49 million are in North America, 1.3 million in the United States.

Finally, Honda will recall 350,000 2005 Civics and 2006-2007 Accords for their passenger-side units, and could recall more “if Takata or the NHTSA later determine that a defect exists in vehicles sold or registered beyond” the 13-state-and-territory region where the current passenger-side airbag recall campaign is being carried out, according to representative Chris Martin.

[Source: Mecum Auctions]

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FCA US Reducing Powertrain Warranty To 60K Miles For 2016 Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-reducing-powertrain-warranty-to-60k-miles-for-2016-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/fca-us-reducing-powertrain-warranty-to-60k-miles-for-2016-models/#comments Thu, 28 May 2015 19:00:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1077546 Those shopping for a new Charger, 300, Wrangler or 1500 because of the powertrain warranty may need to pull the trigger soon due to an upcoming mileage cut. According to the following statement, FCA US is cutting the warranty down from the current 5-year/100,000-mile guarantee to a new 5-year/60,000-mile term for the 2016 model year, […]

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21015 Dodge Charger RT Road and Track Exterior-007

Those shopping for a new Charger, 300, Wrangler or 1500 because of the powertrain warranty may need to pull the trigger soon due to an upcoming mileage cut.

According to the following statement, FCA US is cutting the warranty down from the current 5-year/100,000-mile guarantee to a new 5-year/60,000-mile term for the 2016 model year, Automotive News reports:

Following changes already made by competitors, FCA US is adjusting powertrain warranty coverage for 2016 model year vehicles to be more consistent with industry practices. For 2016MY, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram Truck vehicles with gasoline engines will be covered by a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.

An FCA representative says the company’s 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty will remain unchanged, while diesels, Alfas and Fiats are not affected by the policy change; Fiat has its own 4-year/50,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The move follows General Motors’ decision in March 2015 to cut-down its 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty for its Chevrolet and GMC products to a 5-year/60,000-mile policy.

[Source: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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NHTSA Will Partially Continue GM Safety Oversight http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-will-partially-continue-gm-safety-oversight/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 19:53:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072386 Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year. GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million […]

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General Motors Renaissance Center HQ

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was undecided whether it would require GM to continue monthly safety issue disclosure meetings. However, in a letter obtained by The Detroit News, the NHTSA has decided to extend parts of the agreement for another year.

GM agreed to the safety disclosure meetings along with a $35 million civil penalty as part of the ignition switch saga in May 2014. The letter – dated May 14th, 2015 – says NHTSA is opting to extend some requirements from the agreement. NHTSA can extend the agreement up to May 2017.

The meetings have proven “to be a productive and effective tool to proactively and expeditiously address potential safety-related defects. I understand that GM shares that sentiment and has found the process to be a positive one in facilitating communication between GM and NHTSA,” stated NHTSA lawyer Timothy H. Goodman.

Jim Cain, GM spokesperson, told The Detroit News:

We have used our monthly meetings with NHTSA to foster a relationship that’s candid, transparent and totally focused on the safety of our customers. We’ve come a long way and we fully intend to build on this progress.

With the spotlight again on the NHTSA thanks to defective Takata airbag inflators, the move to extend GM oversight may also be political, showing the government agency’s resolve in handling wide-scale safety matters.

Why the extension wasn’t made public when the letter was sent is unknown at this time.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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Canada A Low Priority In Takata Airbag Recalls http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/canada-a-low-priority-in-takata-airbag-recalls/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/canada-a-low-priority-in-takata-airbag-recalls/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072154 As nearly 34 million vehicles in the United States go under recall over Takata’s airbag issues, Canada remains a low priority due to cooler climes. Numerous injuries and six deaths involving the supplier’s airbags occurred in warmer, humid climates, affecting the ammonium nitrate composition — used to aid in detonation during airbag deployment — to […]

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Canadian Tire Store

As nearly 34 million vehicles in the United States go under recall over Takata’s airbag issues, Canada remains a low priority due to cooler climes.

Numerous injuries and six deaths involving the supplier’s airbags occurred in warmer, humid climates, affecting the ammonium nitrate composition — used to aid in detonation during airbag deployment — to catastrophic effect, USA Today reports.

Most of the recalls prior to Tuesday’s nationwide action focused on a handful of states whose climate met the conditions needed for failure. However, the new recall places a considerable strain on Takata’s ability to produce replacement units — 3.8 million thus far — which it hopes to increase to 1 million per month by September. Other suppliers are helping to fill-in wherever possible, though the campaign could take years to complete, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Mark Rosekind.

Thus, Canada is left out in the cold to wait as supply constraints and greater urgency for affected consumers in warmer climes take precedence. Meanwhile, the Canadian subsidiaries of FCA, Ford, BMW, Nissan and Mazda have issued a handful of recalls for a small number of affected vehicles, said recalls being issued closer to repair time per Transport Canada’s requirements; U.S. legislation requires recalls to be issued as soon as a safety problem comes up.

Consumer apathy will likely play a role in bringing recalled vehicles into the repair shop. Autotrader found 56 percent of those made aware of a recall action bring in their vehicles every time, while 61 percent try to keep up with recall news, and 35 percent put in the research when shopping for a vehicle.

[Photo credit: Whpq/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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