The Truth About Cars » Sign of the Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 28 Nov 2014 22:34:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Sign of the Times http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/sign-of-the-times/ Toyota Recalls 57K Over Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyota-recalls-57k-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyota-recalls-57k-takata-airbags/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=952505 Toyota issued Thursday a global recall of 57,000 vehicles affected by the Takata airbag crisis. Reuters reports the majority of the vehicles — 40,000 — were sold in the automaker’s home market of Japan, while 6,000 are in Europe and the rest scattered around the world excluding the North American market. The models affected are […]

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2003 Toyota RAV4

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

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

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

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NHTSA Orders Takata To Recall Airbags By December 2 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/nhtsa-orders-takata-recall-airbags-december-2/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951985 The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is ordering Takata to conduct a nationwide recall of its airbags, while Honda was found to have issued Takata-related recalls as early as 2002. Reuters learned the automaker called back 2,686 vehicles — including the 2000 Honda Accord and Acura TL — in March of 2002, citing a November […]

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2000 Acura TL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Auto Repair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Honda-Accord-USA-2001

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

Even if it means involving the government.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Responses to both orders are due by December 5.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Report: US Median Income Could Soon Outpace Falling Car Prices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-us-median-income-soon-outpace-falling-car-prices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-us-median-income-soon-outpace-falling-car-prices/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946258 Consumers looking for a new car may not need to take their wallets to the hospital afterwards should prices continue to fall and incomes continue to rise. According to Edmunds, the Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index found that a consumer whose income matched the U.S. household median of $54,457 could afford 54.1 percent — $16,448 — […]

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Woman Receiving Car Keys For Her Death Ride 1969 Extravaganza

Consumers looking for a new car may not need to take their wallets to the hospital afterwards should prices continue to fall and incomes continue to rise.

According to Edmunds, the Auto Buyer’s Affordability Index found that a consumer whose income matched the U.S. household median of $54,457 could afford 54.1 percent — $16,448 — of a new vehicle with an average transaction price of $30,382, as recorded in October 2014.

ABAI publisher Requisite Press stated that while the current percentage was still high, “transaction prices have recently begun to weaken under ideal conditions for strength,” such as the rise in income among consumers. There, the ABAI found said income had climbed 3.8 percent above the 52.1 percent value reported in April of this year, corresponding to an extra $653 in spending ability.

The publisher adds that should the center hold, the U.S. median household income would continue to outpace automotive pricing, a status not seen since 1980. President Phil Kelton explains:

New-car affordability is likely to improve in the coming days if we can avoid an income slowdown. The selection of affordable models is best increased by competition, but a sustained improvement in affordability will certainly give it a boost.

As for taking advantage of this burgeoning reality, Requisite Press suggests consumers “maximize their buying power” along every step of the car-buying process, with a suggestion to follow the 20-4-10 rule: 20 percent down, four-year loan term max, 10 percent of income spent on car payments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Barra Backs Out Of Appearance To Accept National Award Amid Outcry http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/barra-backs-out-of-appearance-to-accept-national-award-amid-outcry/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/barra-backs-out-of-appearance-to-accept-national-award-amid-outcry/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945057 General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who was to appear at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., opted not to appear to receive an award amid outcry from those affected by the February 2014 ignition switch recall. Autoblog reports Barra was set to receive the Katherine Graham Living Legacy Award from the National Women’s History Museum […]

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Mary Barra at 2014 Detroit Auto Show

General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who was to appear at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., opted not to appear to receive an award amid outcry from those affected by the February 2014 ignition switch recall.

Autoblog reports Barra was set to receive the Katherine Graham Living Legacy Award from the National Women’s History Museum in the nation’s capital, a national award that honors the achievements of women. However, representatives from both GM and the museum both confirmed that Barra would not appear as planned after word of the award reached the automaker’s critics, and the families of those affected by the ignition switch at the center of the February 2014 recall.

Laura Christian, whose daughter was killed in a 2005 accident linked to the defective switch, approved the decision by the museum, stating that for it to give an award to Barra would be “a slap in the face” for her, her family “and many others actively grieving.”

Another critic, the National Legal and Policy Center, sent a letter asking the National Women’s History Museum to rescind the honor, as it would undermine the work accomplished by the museum in so doing. As for Barra, president Peter Flaherty said she should “focus on GM’s remaining safety problems before travelling around the country to accept awards.”

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

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Takata Car Seats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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VW Establishes New Labor Organization Engagement Policy For Chattanooga Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-establishes-new-labor-organization-engagement-policy-chattanooga-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/vw-establishes-new-labor-organization-engagement-policy-chattanooga-plant/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 14:00:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944745 Without mentioning the United Auto Workers by name, Volkswagen established a new policy that would allow organized labor groups to hold meetings at its Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, as well as speak with executives. Automotive News reports the Community Organization Engagement policy cannot be used to “claim or request recognition as the exclusive collective bargaining agent […]

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Volkswagen Chattanooga

Without mentioning the United Auto Workers by name, Volkswagen established a new policy that would allow organized labor groups to hold meetings at its Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, as well as speak with executives.

Automotive News reports the Community Organization Engagement policy cannot be used to “claim or request recognition as the exclusive collective bargaining agent for any group of employees,” but does allow those groups three levels of access and dialogue with the plant’s top brass when a given group represents at least 15 percent of the employees.

The first level grants groups who represent 15 percent of the floor the right to hold a meeting once a month during non-work hours, along with monthly meetings with VW HR, and the ability to post announcements. The second level — 30 percent representation — allows groups to meet once a week, as well as invite non-employee group personnel to meet up once per month, and quarterly meetings with the Volkswagen Chattanooga Executive Committee. Finally, groups who represent 45 percent or more of the floor can reserve floor spaces “as reasonably needed,” meet with HR biweekly, and the executive committee monthly.

Eligibility for any of the tiers includes adhering to the standards set by the National Labor Relations Board, with membership rolls evaluated by a third party twice per year.

UAW treasurer Gary Casteel said his union would soon meet with VW officials to “remind them” of the commitments made between the union and the automaker earlier this year in Germany, as well as offering to help verify the roll for UAW Local 42, which claims to have more than a majority of the plant’s 3,200-plus workers.

Meanwhile, American Council of Employees interim president Sean Moss applauded the policy, proclaiming Volkswagen had “officially recognized the need for a local group that puts the needs and interests of its members ahead of outside political forces,” and ensures groups aside from the UAW have a say in how the plant will be organized.

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Takata Airbag Propellant Revised, Composition Unknown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-airbag-propellant-revised-composition-unknown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-airbag-propellant-revised-composition-unknown/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 12:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944681 The original airbag propellant recipe used by Takata in the modules at the center of the supplier’s recall crisis has been changed, according to an anonymous company official. According to Reuters, the source didn’t explain what was changed for the new recipe, but that ammonium nitrate — the chemical used in the original recipe — […]

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Billboard advertisement of Takata Corp is pictured in Tokyo

The original airbag propellant recipe used by Takata in the modules at the center of the supplier’s recall crisis has been changed, according to an anonymous company official.

According to Reuters, the source didn’t explain what was changed for the new recipe, but that ammonium nitrate — the chemical used in the original recipe — remained part of the revised propellant’s makeup:

There is no admission of a defect with the original version. There has not been any finding that ammonium nitrate or the earlier composition was somehow flawed. We changed the composition in an effort to improve quality.

The original compound, when exposed to high humidity, caused the inflators in the module to catastrophically explode, showering the cabin and those inside with metal shrapnel that once was the module’s housing.

The new compound has been used in replacement modules for vehicles brought in for repairs under recall, though the source did not say how many vehicles had the new compound, when the change in the recipe was made, or which models had the new modules. Around 17 million vehicles with the defective modules have been recalled since 2008, 11 million in the United States alone.

Takata made over 100 million units with the original recipe since 2000, and is the only major airbag supplier to use ammonium nitrate; Autoliv and TRW Automotive — both of whom called up by Takata to help supply replacements — use guanidine nitrate instead.

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Honda UK Launches First Commercial Solar Hydrogen Facility http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-uk-launches-first-commercial-solar-hydrogen-facility/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-uk-launches-first-commercial-solar-hydrogen-facility/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944001 In a partnership with various organizations, including Briggs Equipment UK, BOC and the Swindon Borough Council, Honda UK has launched its first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refueling facility in its hometown of Swindon, England. SHD Logistics reports the facility will produce 20 tons of hydrogen annually through solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas […]

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UK’s_first_commercial_scale_green_hydrogen_refuelling_facility_opens_in_Swindon

In a partnership with various organizations, including Briggs Equipment UK, BOC and the Swindon Borough Council, Honda UK has launched its first commercial-scale hydrogen production and refueling facility in its hometown of Swindon, England.

SHD Logistics reports the facility will produce 20 tons of hydrogen annually through solar hydrolysis, a process that creates the gas from water via the sun’s heat. The first customers will be limited to a pair of forklifts and a commercial fleet on the grounds of Honda’s Swindon production plant, as well as an education center next door.

The hydrogen will be delivered through 300-meter long pipes to a refueling point inside the factory, where two Briggs lithium-ion/hydrogen hybrid forklifts will replenish their tanks as needed. The fueling process is expected to take five minutes, each full tank generating 5.5 hours of run time.

Honda hopes the new facility, parts of which were already in operation since 2011, “will be a benchmark for other refuelling stations to follow” as well as reinforce the United Kingdom’s potential among automakers as a place to contribute to the new hydrogen future with vehicles and infrastructure.

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

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NYC 25 MPH Limit Legislation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Takata Issues Newer, Wider Annual Loss Forecast For FY 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-issues-newer-wider-annual-loss-forecast-fy-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-issues-newer-wider-annual-loss-forecast-fy-2014/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942449 The hits keep coming for Takata as its airbag debacle moves forward, this time with announcement that its annual loss forecast will grow wider than previously stated. Automotive News reports the new forecast calls for a loss of ¥25 billion ($218 million USD) during FY 2014, a ¥1 billion ($8.7 million) difference compared to the […]

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A sign board of Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp's Annual General Meeting is seen on a street near the venue in Tokyo

The hits keep coming for Takata as its airbag debacle moves forward, this time with announcement that its annual loss forecast will grow wider than previously stated.

Automotive News reports the new forecast calls for a loss of ¥25 billion ($218 million USD) during FY 2014, a ¥1 billion ($8.7 million) difference compared to the forecast made in August; both figures are record losses for the automotive supplier.

Additionally, Takata will skip a dividend this year, the first time in eight years it has done so. The company took a ¥45 billion ($390 million) charge in Q1 2014 as a result of the airbag recalls, and has said future charges would be limited.

CFO Yoichiro Nomura apologized before the Tokyo Stock Exchange, saying his company hadn’t meant to worry its customers, automakers and investors who were all affected by its products. Takata shares declined 1.4 percent in trading, falling from ¥1,579 ($13.69) to ¥1,527 ($13.23) by the closing bell Thursday afternoon.

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First GM Ignition Lawsuit Trial Set For January 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/first-gm-ignition-lawsuit-trial-set-january-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/first-gm-ignition-lawsuit-trial-set-january-2016/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942425 It’s official: the first bellwether trial involving a lawsuit against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition switch recall is set for January 2016. Reuters reports the first trial, to be selected by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York in the near future, will focus on […]

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thurgood-marshall-courthouse

It’s official: the first bellwether trial involving a lawsuit against General Motors over its role in the February 2014 ignition switch recall is set for January 2016.

Reuters reports the first trial, to be selected by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York in the near future, will focus on personal injury or wrongful death. The case will be chosen from a pool of 130 suits, with claims linked to personal injury, wrongful death and lost vehicle value.

The trial, which could be the first of many bellwether trials to come, could help both sides in determining a given case’s strengths and weaknesses. No decisions made in each case will be binding to the overall pool.

The case was originally scheduled for October 2015, but GM wanted a date for June 2016, citing time constraints to prepare its case were the original proposal accepted. The vehicle in question for the first trial will be addressed when the case is selected by Furman.

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

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red stop light camera

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

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

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

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

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

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GM Offers Gift Cards To 700K Affected By Ignition Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-offers-gift-cards-700k-affected-ignition-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-offers-gift-cards-700k-affected-ignition-recall/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 15:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=941017 Just in time for Black Friday or Black Thanksgiving (for those heathens who really want Alex from Target to scan their cheap HDTV, instead of giving him the day off by voting with their wallets), General Motors will be giving their customers a $25 gift card if they bring in their vehicles affected by the […]

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Gift Cards Woo-Hoo

Just in time for Black Friday or Black Thanksgiving (for those heathens who really want Alex from Target to scan their cheap HDTV, instead of giving him the day off by voting with their wallets), General Motors will be giving their customers a $25 gift card if they bring in their vehicles affected by the February 2014 recall by December 1.

The Detroit News reports brochures about the gift card incentive began landing last week in the mailboxes of those who have yet to bring in their affected vehicle for a 30-minute part swap. Per GM representative Ryndee Carney, the promo went out to around 700,000 who haven’t ordered parts; those who did, but haven’t come in, weren’t eligible for the offer.

After said owners have their vehicles repaired, they will be given a code to redeem online for a $25 card from either Amazon, AMC, Applebee’s, Bass Pro Shops, Red Robin, Starbucks or Walmart, with delivery due between two to four weeks. Were all 700,000 to turn up, a total of $17.5 million would be given away in the promotion.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is on-board with the initiative, encouraging GM to do everything it can to repair those affected vehicles. A similar program was offered by Toyota in 2010 during its unintended acceleration recall drive, one that made a huge splash with response rates, according to vice president of corporate communications, Mike Michels.

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Suppliers Come To Takata’s Aid Amid Airbag Recall Crisis http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/suppliers-come-takatas-aid-amid-airbag-recall-crisis/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/suppliers-come-takatas-aid-amid-airbag-recall-crisis/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940985 Takata may not being doing so hot amid its airbag crisis, but it is providing an opportunity for at least two other airbag suppliers. Detroit Free Press reports TRW Automotive and Autoliv have received calls from Takata for new inflators to replace the 7.8 million units under recall due to the likelihood of catastrophic detonation […]

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Takata Sign

Takata may not being doing so hot amid its airbag crisis, but it is providing an opportunity for at least two other airbag suppliers.

Detroit Free Press reports TRW Automotive and Autoliv have received calls from Takata for new inflators to replace the 7.8 million units under recall due to the likelihood of catastrophic detonation in high-humid locales. Takata itself informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it expected to produce 1.47 million replacement units by February 2015, a low number that likely led to the call to the bullpen.

TRW CEO John Plant stated his company was willing to help the supplier and the industry as a whole, proclaiming his customers “would welcome that support.” Autoliv CEO Jan Carlson added that the situation was “a very difficult issue for the industry,” and noted the increased business as a result.

The Takata recall affects 7.8 million vehicles, split-up among 50 models from 10 automakers, that were sold between 2001 and 2011, with Honda responsible for 5 million of those affected.

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GM, Harman Delivering Android-Equipped Vehicles By Late 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-harman-delivering-android-equipped-vehicles-late-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/gm-harman-delivering-android-equipped-vehicles-late-2016/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940961 Remember how the heads of Volkswagen and Daimler were urging their fellow automakers not to drink so much Google Kool-Aid? General Motors thinks the punch isn’t spiked at all, pressing forward with a plan to bring Android into its brand portfolio by late 2016. Automotive News reports supplier Harman International will be the one to […]

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Chevrolet MyLink

Remember how the heads of Volkswagen and Daimler were urging their fellow automakers not to drink so much Google Kool-Aid? General Motors thinks the punch isn’t spiked at all, pressing forward with a plan to bring Android into its brand portfolio by late 2016.

Automotive News reports supplier Harman International will be the one to supply the new connected-vehicle system to GM, having won a $900 million contract in 2012 for the right to do so. CEO Dinesh Paliwal explains what’s in store for consumers when they sit behind the wheel of an Android-powered vehicle:

As you would expect, this next-generation infotainment solution will enable an app store, which allows this infotainment system to stay technologically relevant over the life cycle of the vehicle. Apps will be developed by General Motors, Harman and a bunch of other third parties, not just Google and Apple.

Harman, a member of the Open Automotive Alliance, will also make their system available to other automakers, so long as they don’t mind being “one life cycle behind” GM, who would be the first to use the system.

As for where in the lineup the first Harman/Android units will turn up, Paliwal didn’t say. At present, though, it may be a while before full assimilation occurs; within Chevrolet alone, QNX, Linux and Microsoft rule the day in vehicles like the Malibu, Impala and Sonic.

Meanwhile, GM hasn’t commented on Paliwal’s announcement. The automaker had planned to roll-out a service called AppShop, announced during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, only to bail this summer when the service failed to meet consumer expectations.

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Report: Electric Turbocharging Could Provide Fuel Economy Boost http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-electric-turbocharging-provide-fuel-economy-boost/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/report-electric-turbocharging-provide-fuel-economy-boost/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940937 Though full electrification might not be in the cards for most consumers, those looking for turbo power for their vehicles could find a little bit of that black magic in the turbo itself down the road. A report by Navigant Research posits that the best way to eliminate lag without using a supercharger to make […]

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Valeo Electric Turbocharger

Though full electrification might not be in the cards for most consumers, those looking for turbo power for their vehicles could find a little bit of that black magic in the turbo itself down the road.

A report by Navigant Research posits that the best way to eliminate lag without using a supercharger to make up for said lag — at the expense of increased friction at higher speeds — an electric turbocharger may be the best bet yet. The technology offers a handful of improvements over exhaust-driven units, including packaging of components, responsiveness and flexibility.

Supplier Valeo recently unveiled such a piece — for 12V and 48V electrical systems — with the first applications coming online in 2016. According to their findings, the best application for the turbo is with an engine that uses cylinder deactivation to maintain fuel economy. As power is reduced with cylinder count, an electric turbo can help with small boosts in power to tackle situations that would otherwise switch all of the cylinders back on, such as mild-and-above inclines.

Meanwhile, engineers wouldn’t have to figure out where to package all of the plumbing required for an exhaust-driven turbo with an electric unit, allowing for a placement that provides the best peformance and setup.

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Honda Ordered To Answer For Its Role In Takata Airbag Recall By November 24 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-ordered-answer-role-takata-airbag-recall-november-24/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/honda-ordered-answer-role-takata-airbag-recall-november-24/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940321 Takata is no longer alone in facing an intense federal investigation over in its airbag recall action: Honda, too, has been ordered to answer under oath for its role in the recall. Automotive News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a special order to the automaker on Monday to “investigate the extent and […]

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2013 Honda Civic sedan

Takata is no longer alone in facing an intense federal investigation over in its airbag recall action: Honda, too, has been ordered to answer under oath for its role in the recall.

Automotive News reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a special order to the automaker on Monday to “investigate the extent and scope” of its failure to report fatalities and injuries linked to the supplier’s airbags, as required by the TREAD Act. Deputy administrator David Friedman explains:

Our focus is keeping the American public and their vehicles safe. Early Warning Reporting information is one of many data sources we rely on to spot potential defects. Honda and the other automakers are legally obligated to report this information to us and failure to do so will not be tolerated.

Honda has until November 24 to submit written responses to a questionnaire, as well as requested documents, explaining how it handles safety warning reports. Third-party information and all death and injury claims submitted to the automaker since 2000 are also under request by the NHTSA. Failure to comply would net Honda a $35 million fine.

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Dodge: Over 5,000 Challenger Hellcats Ordered Since October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dodge-5000-challenger-hellcats-ordered-since-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dodge-5000-challenger-hellcats-ordered-since-october/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940297 Since the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat roared at the 2014 New York Auto Show, enthusiasts have been waiting for the day the big cats would enter the showroom. When ordering opened in October, so did the floodgates. According to Allpar, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis reported over 4,000 orders for the $60,000 707-horsepower musclecar were taken […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Since the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat roared at the 2014 New York Auto Show, enthusiasts have been waiting for the day the big cats would enter the showroom.

When ordering opened in October, so did the floodgates.

According to Allpar, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis reported over 4,000 orders for the $60,000 707-horsepower musclecar were taken as soon as ordering came online, with an additional 1,000-plus entered since then.

The brand knew demand would be strong, but it had no idea it would come in hot, too; Dodge initially planned to build just 1,200 units annually. There’s also a dealer incentive to get the Challenger Hellcat into customers’ hands as soon as possible so that more can be delivered to the showroom as production moves forward.

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