Tag: airbags

By on September 18, 2017

toyota-robot-factory

Occupational hazards exist in every industry, and we used to adhere to the notion of “acceptable losses” for certain projects. Over 20,000 people are estimated to have died under the French leadership of the Panama Canal’s construction, and another 6,000 when the Americans finally finished it in 1914 — two years ahead of its target date. Fifteen years later, five men perished during the construction of the Empire State Building, which was pretty good for the time.

However, acceptable workplace-related deaths aren’t really in style anymore. One causality is too many in today’s post-OSHA world, whether you’re in the U.S. or living beyond its borders. Such was the case two years ago when a robot crushed a 22-year-old man to death at a Volkswagen assembly plant. As a result, VW and other automakers are closely watching the efforts of Germany’s Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics in order to build a safer robot.  (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2017

Takata-jpg

Takata, the airbag supplier whose cost-cutting measures ended up killing people, issued a request on Wednesday to suspend lawsuits against automakers filed by those injured by its faulty inflators.

Without the injunction, Takata claims the rampant litigation would prohibit management from completing the sale of the company’s viable operations to Key Safety Systems for $1.6 billion, threatening the supply of air bag inflators meant to replace already recalled ones (which may include all previously repaired units, pending an EPA investigation).

Obviously, the injured parties want restitution. Plaintiffs’ lawyers call the proposed injunction “an abuse of the bankruptcy laws for the benefit of all of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers.” The fear is that Takata’s request will delay consideration of numerous lawsuits for several months to a year, which is a long time to wait when you’ve been wronged.  (Read More…)

By on July 19, 2017

airbag

Takata, the parts supplier that furnished automakers with millions of extremely dangerous airbag inflators, was forced to issue another recall last week. Considering the hundreds of millions of units already recalled by the company, another 2.7 million is a drop in the bucket. But there’s a slight problem, as these newly recalled inflators are devices that have already been replaced.

In 2015, regulators specified Takata had until the end of 2019 to ensure its replacement airbag inflators were safe. With the “fixed” units now under scrutiny, automakers may be liable for the supplier’s wrongdoing as the millions upon millions of recalled inflators would need to be replaced for a second time. The current recall was prompted after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found the drying agent added specifically to combat the moisture that degrades the ammonium nitrate compound wasn’t effective.

“Absent proof that the other desiccated inflators are safe, they will also be subject to recall,” the NHTSA said in a statement last week.  (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2017

718 boxster S

A segment of the automotive enthusiast community holds a real prejudice against convertibles. While the majority of the ire stems from an irrational bitterness or assumption that any car that sacrifices any amount body stiffness for style is inherently wrong, there is one valid complaint: most convertibles are less safe in a crash than a hardtop.

With that in mind, Porsche has patented an airbag concealed within the A-pillar specifically designed to protect soft-top occupants in the event that the windshield frame bends toward their fragile skulls during an accident — a handy feature for a vehicle lacking roof support. However, there is no reason the system couldn’t also be implemented in vehicles with a rigid ceiling.  (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2017

Airbags

It’s been a long road to this point, but Takata’s CFO, Yoichiro Nomura, finally had the opportunity to plead guilty on behalf of the company to fraud. The company accepted a $1 billion settlement with the U.S. government yesterday as Nomura condemned Takata’s actions as “deeply inappropriate.”

U.S. District Court Judge George Steeh confirmed the previously agreed-to settlement against objections from lawyers for victims of Takata airbag inflator explosions, who claimed the criminal settlement mistakenly identified automakers as victims of Takata’s unlawful behavior. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2017

2008 Pontiac Solstice, Image: General Motors

General Motors has issued an airbag recall for the long-gone Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky. The recall relates to the passenger presence sensor (PPS), which may become damaged and cause the passenger airbag to not deploy during a crash.

We initially covered this issue in 2015 after noticing that complaints were piling up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and that the PPS design was similar to other models already recalled by GM. (Read More…)

By on September 16, 2016

2012 Jeep Patriot Latitude, Exterior, front 3/4, Photography by Alex L. Dykes

This time, it’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ turn to recall a million-plus vehicles for airbags that might not deploy during a crash.

Yesterday, the automaker announced the recall of 1.9 million vehicles worldwide to fix a defect linked to three deaths and five injuries. (Read More…)

By on September 12, 2016

2015 Chevrolet Silverado Rally Edition

General Motors has a doozy of a recall on its hands after admitting that 3.64 million vehicles in the U.S. are equipped with airbags that might not deploy in the event of a crash.

The automaker has announced a voluntary recall of numerous 2014-2017 models to fix the issue, which can also disable seatbelt pretensioners. There remains a bit of mystery as to the “certain rare circumstances” that can disable the airbags. (Read More…)

By on June 29, 2016

2012 Prius Plug In Hybrid, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Toyota will recall a total of 3.37 million vehicles to resolve two safety-related issues, one of which involves an environmental control that can quickly become very bad for the environment.

The largest of the two recalls concerns faulty side curtain airbags that could partially inflate without warning, according to the Associated Press. The issue isn’t related to the Takata airbag recall — rather, the problem stems from small cracks in some driver and passenger side airbag inflators, which can widen over time and lead to the partial inflation of the side curtain. (Read More…)

By on January 29, 2016

AirbagMain

We discussed the general process of repairing a salvage car a few weeks ago and one commenter asked about airbags. Joe Btfsplk writes:

How do you deal with deployed airbags? Are used parts allowed to be used in salvage vehicles? This seems to get little attention in the article.

Dealing with deployed airbags in modern cars can be a tricky and costly situation. The installation of used parts is allowed but may not always be the safest solution.

(Read More…)

By on January 23, 2016

Signing ceremony for VW’s Foshan plant in China. Picture courtesy Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen’s chief in China says they’re probably not retaking the crown from General Motors there anytime soon.

That, Apple’s lead car guy is gone, Takata’s in trouble and more … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2016

Chevrolet Aveo Roja Victoria 2015

General Motors CEO and Chairwoman Mary Barra defended Wednesday her company’s decision not to put airbags in some of its cars in international markets.

“In many of those places the technology is available and it’s a customer choice if they want it,” Barra said, according to the International Business Times. “There’s many cases where we are well above standards, but we also have to look at affordability otherwise you cut people out of even having the availability of transportation.”

Barra made the remarks in Davos, Switzerland, which was a response to a letter sent to her last year by consumer advocacy groups in the U.S. — including Consumer Reports — requesting the automaker standardize safety features in its cars worldwide.

(Read More…)

By on January 5, 2016

Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle at Mcity

It certainly sounds like Ford is close to selling a self-driving Fusion real soon.

That, Matthias Müller finally comes to the U.S. to ask “You mad, bro?” Nissan has no love for Takata, and business is hot south of the border … after the break!

(Read More…)

By on December 28, 2015

Chevrolet Aveo Roja Victoria 2015

The Chevrolet Aveo is the most popular car in Mexico, but is also the least safe, according to consumer safety experts. Testing from Latin NCAP found that the Aveo, when sold without airbags, received zero stars for its front-passenger safety rating.

Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal report that American safety advocates including Consumer Reports have written to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, asking why the potentially life-saving devices that are installed as standard equipment for many other countries, are expensive add-ons for Latin American countries.

(“Life-saving” assuming that Takata isn’t the supplier.)

(Read More…)

By on December 23, 2015

Takata-jpg

Bloomberg (via Automotive News) reported that engineers at Honda demanded to know why Takata airbags were injuring drivers and passengers during a 2009 meeting held four months before investigators started their inquiry.

“Why does it explode? I want to know the truth,” an engineer identified as “Otaka” asked Takata’s CEO at the meeting, according to Bloomberg.

Minutes from a July 2009 meeting between Honda executives and Takata officials were made public as part of a lawsuit against the airbag maker. (Read More…)

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