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. Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:00:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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/ 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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Takata Expands US Airbag Recall Nationwide, Covering 34M Units http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-expands-us-airbag-recall-nationwide-covering-34m-units/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/takata-expands-us-airbag-recall-nationwide-covering-34m-units/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 19:06:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071026 The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday Takata would expand its airbag recall to cover 33.8 million units in the United States. The expanded recall is now one of the largest recalls in U.S. history, USA Today reports. Additionally, the supplier is under a consent order by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to cooperate […]

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Takata TTAC Style

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday Takata would expand its airbag recall to cover 33.8 million units in the United States.

The expanded recall is now one of the largest recalls in U.S. history, USA Today reports. Additionally, the supplier is under a consent order by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to cooperate with the agency in its investigation into the recall. The NHTSA also declared it would begin the process to sort and organize the replacement schedule of the defective airbags.

The expansion comes after Takata issued a regional recall last summer affecting units in vehicles located in humid locales in the U.S. The units were prone to catastrophic failure upon detonation, scattering shrapnel into the cabin and injuring or killing the occupants inside. Six fatalities have been linked thus far, with five occurring in the U.S.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx praised the agreement made between the supplier and his department, declaring it “a major step forward for public safety.” NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind agreed with the assessment, adding all parties involved had more work ahead of them to remedy the issue as quickly as possible.

[Photo credit: Takata]

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Consumer Reports Declares Tesla Model S P85D ‘Undrivable’ Due To Glitch http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumer-reports-declares-tesla-model-s-p85d-undrivable-due-to-glitch/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/consumer-reports-declares-tesla-model-s-p85d-undrivable-due-to-glitch/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 17:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070146 The thrill has gone for Consumer Reports‘ review team over the Tesla Model S, declaring the P85D “undrivable” in a new blog post. The publication said its tester was described as such due to issues with the automatic door handles, The Detroit Bureau writes. The handles were supposed to extend when someone with the vehicle’s […]

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Tesla Model S In Hero Blue

The thrill has gone for Consumer Reports‘ review team over the Tesla Model S, declaring the P85D “undrivable” in a new blog post.

The publication said its tester was described as such due to issues with the automatic door handles, The Detroit Bureau writes. The handles were supposed to extend when someone with the vehicle’s keys walked up to the car, failing to do so with the model in review.

With repeated attempts to enter the car in the traditional manner failing, one of the reviewers opened the front passenger door with a smartphone app to fire-up the EV. The success was short-lived, however, as the onboard electronics limited driving time to two minutes before shutting down.

Ultimately, CR called up customer service — which continues to receive high praise according to the publication’s reviewers — to haul the ailing P85D to the dealership for repairs. Despite the woes suffered prior to rectification, though, the publication continues to give the Model S a strong recommendation to its readership.

[Image credit: Tesla]

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Buick Regal Tops Among Those Traded-In After One Year Of Ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/buick-regal-tops-among-traded-one-year-ownership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/buick-regal-tops-among-traded-one-year-ownership/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 19:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062954 In a hurry to trade your new Buick Regal for something else? You’re not alone, as the sedan joins a handful of models traded-in after a year of ownership. Per a report by iSeeCars.com, 2.7 percent of vehicles bought new end up on the used lot after being on the road for one year, Forbes […]

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2014 Buick Regal GS AWD Exterior-003

In a hurry to trade your new Buick Regal for something else? You’re not alone, as the sedan joins a handful of models traded-in after a year of ownership.

Per a report by iSeeCars.com, 2.7 percent of vehicles bought new end up on the used lot after being on the road for one year, Forbes reports, with trade-in rates as high as 11 percent for a specific model.

The models brought back to the sales lot run the gamut, from $18,000 subcompacts to $45,000 luxury sedans. The Regal tops the list with 10.7 percent of owners exchanging their keys after a year, the Chevrolet Sonic takes second with 8.9 percent, and the BMW X1 at a close third with 7.8 percent. The Dodge Charger, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Chevrolet Cruze and Nissan Frontier also make the list.

As for why the sudden change of heart, quality or the perception of quality played a key role; the aforementioned models were rated poorly by owners surveyed in J.D. Power’s 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Survey. ISeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly says those issues usually involve technology, such as connected-vehicle systems, voice command, and Bluetooth connection, and aren’t so much “problems” as they are difficulties with said technologies.

Those looking for a deal on those models will likely be happy with what they find on the used lot, though. The 2014 Regal with average mileage comes with a price tag 32.2 percent less than new, while the C-Class and Charger lost 31.0 percent and 28.4 percent in new-car value after a year, respectively.

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

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NHTSA: No Decision Yet On Extending General Motors’ Oversight Decree http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-no-decision-yet-extending-general-motors-oversight-decree/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/nhtsa-no-decision-yet-extending-general-motors-oversight-decree/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062842 A year ago, General Motors was placed under government oversight in the wake of its recall crisis. Whether the NHTSA continues babysitting the automaker is yet to be determined. The oversight consent decree signed between GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in a record $35-million fine for the former’s role in the February […]

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2015 Cadillac ATS Near Capitol Hill Circa January 2015

A year ago, General Motors was placed under government oversight in the wake of its recall crisis. Whether the NHTSA continues babysitting the automaker is yet to be determined.

The oversight consent decree signed between GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in a record $35-million fine for the former’s role in the February 2014 ignition switch recall, as well as requiring the automaker to disclose any potential and ongoing problems, and to meet with the agency monthly about safety issues, The Detroit News reports. The decree can also be extended for up to two years, a decision agency head Mark Rosekind is discussing at present.

Rosekind praised the automaker’s willingness to be forthcoming about safety issues and improvements during those meetings, while GM spokesman Jim Cain had this to say about cooperating with the government:

We have fully complied with the terms of the consent order. More importantly, 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.

No word was given as of this writing on when a decision to extend or rescind the decree would occur.

[Photo credit: General Motors]

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US Uber Users Latest Victims In Hacking, Selling Scheme http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-uber-users-latest-victims-hacking-selling-scheme/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/us-uber-users-latest-victims-hacking-selling-scheme/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 20:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1061154 Uber customers in the United States are the latest victims in a hacking scheme where Uber accounts are sold on the dark web for as little as $1. The scheme first affected Uber customers in the United Kingdom earlier this year, Motherboard reports, and is now hitting U.S. customers. One user saw several ride requests […]

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uber fashion shoot 02

Uber customers in the United States are the latest victims in a hacking scheme where Uber accounts are sold on the dark web for as little as $1.

The scheme first affected Uber customers in the United Kingdom earlier this year, Motherboard reports, and is now hitting U.S. customers. One user saw several ride requests made for travel in London, even though she lives in North Carolina. After posting the fraudulent attempts to her Twitter account, the transportation network company refunded her bank account for the three trips that did go through, ranging from $40 to $120 per trip; she also cancelled the card associated with her Uber account.

Meanwhile, others who have seen their accounts hacked and sold haven’t been as fortunate to have their money refunded. The TNC’s representatives said the investigation “is now in the hands of the authorities” upon finding no breaches into the company’s systems. They add the hacks were “a good opportunity to remind people to use strong and unique usernames and passwords and to avoid reusing the same credentials across multiple sites and services.”

The publication’s own investigation couldn’t confirm if the fraudulent uses happening to U.S. consumers were the result of Uber accounts being sold on the dark web that affected U.K. customers, nor how those accounts were snagged in the first place.

[Photo credit: Uber]

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Automakers, NHTSA Meet To Discuss Increasing Recall Completion Rates http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/automakers-nhtsa-meet-discuss-increasing-recall-completion-rates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/automakers-nhtsa-meet-discuss-increasing-recall-completion-rates/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 18:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056394 Despite the numerous recalls over the past year, recall completion rates are not at 100 percent. The NHTSA and automakers hope to change this. The agency met with representatives of General Motors, Honda and other automakers Tuesday to discuss ways to encourage affected consumers to take action when a recall is issued, Bloomberg reports. In […]

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Mark Rosekind Circa December 2014

Despite the numerous recalls over the past year, recall completion rates are not at 100 percent. The NHTSA and automakers hope to change this.

The agency met with representatives of General Motors, Honda and other automakers Tuesday to discuss ways to encourage affected consumers to take action when a recall is issued, Bloomberg reports.

In the case of GM, the automaker studied those who didn’t take action, then did everything it could to make them aware of a recall issue with the aim of bringing those consumers into the repair shop. However, even with 98 percent of GM owners made aware of recalls as a result of the campaign, inaction still occurred. Of those who did finally act, customer relationship management director Julie Heisel noted it took multiple mailings, phone calls, and assurances of loaner vehicles before those consumers brought their affected vehicles in for repair.

As it stands, the average completion rate for recall repairs comes to 75 percent, though the older the vehicle is, the less likely it will be repaired, according to The Detroit News: 15 percent for vehicles older than 10 years versus 83 percent for newer models.

In 2014, automakers recalled 63.9 vehicles in a record total of 803 recalls, including the February 2014 ignition switch recall issued by GM, and the ongoing Takata airbag recall affecting Honda and nine other automakers.

[Photo credit: Senator Claire McCaskill/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Study: Millennials Love Cars, Not So Much EVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-millennials-love-cars-not-much-evs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-millennials-love-cars-not-much-evs/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 16:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056274 Per a new study by Continental AG, millennials love cars as much as they love iPhones, so long as their rides aren’t electrified. The biennial Continental Mobility Study found in 2015 that 84 percent of those between ages 16 and 25 state that driving matters greatly to them, with 76 percent of the group driving […]

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Kia Soul with Lyftstache Circa September 2013

Per a new study by Continental AG, millennials love cars as much as they love iPhones, so long as their rides aren’t electrified.

The biennial Continental Mobility Study found in 2015 that 84 percent of those between ages 16 and 25 state that driving matters greatly to them, with 76 percent of the group driving their vehicles every day, AutoGuide reports.

Regarding the aforementioned iPhones, consumer electronics still rule over the group, as 91 percent placed a high importance on their smartphones, tablets et al. When it comes to automakers bringing that experience to their offerings, 73 percent stated they would like a connected vehicle. However, Continental AG board member Helmut Matschi cautions automakers to take a shotgun approach to implementing said tech, with data security being at the top of the list.

Ownership matters to all who were surveyed: 94 percent said they owned their vehicles, while only 1 percent preferred to use car-sharing services. The figure follows a similar trend in Europe, where 83 percent surveyed also stated that they own their cars. Matschi said he was “a bit surprised” at the outcome, thinking behavioral changes should have occurred by now, but that both young and older drivers alike “see driving as sustainable and fun.” Industry experts add that 65 million millennials will buy a vehicle over the next five years, fueling technological advancements in connectivity and autonomy in so doing.

One of those behaviors – going for greener, electrified motoring solutions – isn’t highly regarded among the group, let alone among all those who were surveyed by the supplier. While 71 percent of all Americans surveyed found EVs did wonders for the environment, only 31 percent said EVs were a joy to drive, 38 percent loved their designs, and 27 percent believed they were sporty.

Going from bad to worse for EV proponents, 21 percent of 31- to 59-year-olds said they thought EVs were a viable solution for transportation, while 24 percent of 16- to 30-year-olds stated they would use an EV to get around over the next decade.

The 2015 edition of the Continental Mobility Study contacted 2,300 non-drivers and 400 drivers in the U.S. for representative and qualitative sampling respectively during the second half of 2014.

[Photo credit: Raido/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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Suzuki Recalls 2M Amid Reports Of Smoking Ignitions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1051009 Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part. The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, […]

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2003 Suzuki Wagon R

Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part.

The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, and Suzuki’s own Alto, Wagon R and Swift. The recall for the latter three covers vehicles built between 1998 and 2009.

Another 133,700 models in the new recall were sold overseas in Australia and Europe, including the aforementioned Swift, Alto and Cruze.

Thus far, 67 reports of smoking switches have been reported, including 18 in police cars. The reports have all come from Japan.

[Photo credit: Kuha455405/Wikipedia]

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Auditor, Others Ordered To Preserve General Motors Ignition Documents http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/auditor-others-ordered-preserve-general-motors-ignition-documents/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/auditor-others-ordered-preserve-general-motors-ignition-documents/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1041185 Wednesday, a federal judge in Detroit ordered General Motors’ auditor and other parties to preserve documents related to the February 2014 recall. The Detroit News reports the parties include, auditor Deloitte & Touche, supplier Delphi, and IPO lead underwriters J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley, as well as rental companies with affected fleet vehicles and […]

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

Wednesday, a federal judge in Detroit ordered General Motors’ auditor and other parties to preserve documents related to the February 2014 recall.

The Detroit News reports the parties include, auditor Deloitte & Touche, supplier Delphi, and IPO lead underwriters J.P. Morgan Securities and Morgan Stanley, as well as rental companies with affected fleet vehicles and eight Wall Street analysts.

The reason for the order from U.S. District Judge Linda Parker involves the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System pension fund, who is leading a securities fraud class-action lawsuit against GM on the claim that the “faulty ignition switches in GM vehicles caused loss to the value of their investments.” Parker said she allowed the order to maintain the status quo “until the court rules on defendants’ pending motions to dismiss.”

None of the parties have turned over said documents to those involved in the lawsuit thus far.

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