By on September 2, 2010

Ferrari is sending engineers all around to the world to investigate “thermal incidents”. Now what’s a “thermal incident” you might ask? It ain’t a mistake that happens in your long johns, that’s for sure.

It’s corporate speak for “that supercar which you lashed loads of money on may catch fire in a big way.”

The BBC reports that Ferrari is recalling all 458 Italia car that were made this year after investigating reports that they are prone to catching fire. There were reports of the smoking hot Ferraris (sorry, couldn’t resist it) in United States, France, Switzerland and China. Ferrari’s engineers managed to track down the source of these scorching hot Ferraris (there I go again!). It relates back to an adhesive used in the wheel arch assembly. The adhesive can overheat and, possibly, catch fire. Even m ore insidious, the melting of the adhesive could deform the liner that protects the engine. Liner moves closer to the exhaust, woosh, liner on fire.

To make up for this engineering problem, Ferrari has said that the owners that first reported this problem will receive a new model, instead of fixing their current one. In addition, all cars involved in the recall will have the adhesive taken out and replaced with a mechanical fastener instead.

I know people like to burn rubber in a Ferrari, but the wheel arch and engine liner, too…? (baddump-tish!)

Epilogue: When I wrote this article, I asked Herr Schmitt for double the price because I managed to get through the entire article without once mentioning Ford Pintos, the Toyota Recalls, or a Nano. He just told me to “Get lost before I got ‘fired’!” Oh those Germans and their crazy sense of humor(!)

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26 Comments on “Ferrari’s Hot Wheels...”

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    In February, 2008 TTAC announced the “Lutzie” award for the industry executive who made the most outlandish statement or statements, demonstrated a total disconnect with reality and/or inserted their pedal extremity firmly into their oral cavity with alarming regularity.

    I propose a new TTAC award, the “Thermy”, named for Ferrari terming car fires “thermal incidents”. It will be awarded to the automaker that best coins a phrase to hide the truth and conceal reality.

    Toyota apparently no longer conducts recalls. Recalls are now “Voluntary Safety Campaigns.” Sounds good, unless you know a rear end collision can result in the Lexus HS 250h spilling excess fuel; the same thing made the Ford Pinto an involuntary four passenger crematorium.

    Similar euphemisms include “Voluntary Safety Campaign,” “Product Re-Evaluation Retrofit,” and “Proactive Vehicle Enhancement Program.”

    • 0 avatar
      Eric M

      Calling a fire a thermal incident is not a new thing by any stretch of the imagination. I personally know of at least one recently bankrupt automaker that has been using the exact same phrase for the same reasons for at least 15 years, and I don’t think it was a new idea then.

      Just for fun, someday try walking into a automakers engineering center and start using the word firewall. I give you 30 seconds before you are asked to call it a bulkhead.

    • 0 avatar

      Honda’s “mid model changeover” (mild refresh halfway through the model cycle) would be more aptly termed a “mid model correction.” After all, if there weren’t something wrong with the original, why else would you change it?

    • 0 avatar

      +1 – Thermal Event is a commonly-used term and we used it at two different automotive component suppliers that I worked for, and we had actual thermal events occur in products at each company which I helped determine the root cause of (in both cases, it was road-salt-laden spray that got onto energized circuit boards).  Just like in a theater, as a manufacturer you never want to use the word “fire.”

    • 0 avatar

      Similarly, all manufacturers officially refer to recalls as “campaigns,” even internally.

    • 0 avatar

      @redmondjp and @Michael

      You’re both bang on.

  • avatar

    There is undoubtedly a supermodel in the passenger seat- someone should probably help her get out.

  • avatar

    Might be better if the picture was of a 458, not a 430.

    Doesn’t change the fact that Ferrari and Fire seem to go together.

  • avatar

    I dunno – if I saw that happening to my Ferrari, I’d probably have a mistake in my long johns.

  • avatar

    If you can afford a Ferrari, you can afford the risk it will burst into flames (and some nomex shorts).

  • avatar

    The roof, the roof, the roof is on fi-yah!

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    “I am bound upon a wheel of fire.” 

    King Lear – Act IV Scene VII

  • avatar

    No doubt all the passers-by were indulging in some serious Schadenfreude.

  • avatar

    Sorry to break it to you folks, but IMHO I’m 99% certain that has been photoshopped. The shadows are all wrong, the flames aren’t illuminating one bit of the underside of the hood. It’s got to be a fake. I’ve seen engine fires and that picture does not look right at all.

  • avatar

    Spontaneous human thermal event?
    Peering at the pic I am rather surprised Ferrari would use a Chevy Cobalt to emulate when sculpting their vehicles’ buttocks.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    The guy standing in front of the Ferrari looks like he is taking a leak.

  • avatar

    I love the “thermal incident” double speak for catching fire. Sort of like referring to fraud as “accounting irregularities”.

  • avatar

    Back in highschool chem lab, we started referring to those occasional accidental explosions as “highly exothermic reactions”.  Contyinued to use it in college, and it caught on.  Feel free to use it yourself, I haven’t copyrighted the term….yet.

  • avatar

    I love the “thermal incident” double speak for catching fire. Sort of like referring to fraud as “accounting irregularities”.
    Reminds me of an aviation incident report I read which said that: ” The integrity of the port inboard aircraft/ground interface was lost”   Translation: “The left inside tyre burst!”
    Perhaps it’s a good thing we are talking about a car fire here and not a volcanic eruption!

  • avatar

    There was a Red Ferrari 430 at my Benz dealer today. Beutiful car…but, after seeing this, I’m not so interested in them anyore.

  • avatar

    You can find a picture of almost any supercar on fire.  Remember the “burning Gallardo” bit on TG?  If I am rich enough to afford one of these, I hope I’m not stupid enough to forego full coverage insurance.

  • avatar

    Funny thing… that particular 430 fire happened just a dozen miles from my house. Poor guy. Just cruising around with all his Ferrari-owning friends and poof… not even a few in-car fire extinguishers (I did mention this was a group of Ferrari owners, right? Obviously, they’re prepared for such things…) were a match for the blaze.
    Car was replaced free-of-charge, but I imagine the dealer can’t have been happy with the bill.

  • avatar
    Acc azda atch

    Jalopnik has been talking about and posting pics of every Ferrari AND Lamborghini sold and on fire for coming on two years…
    Id like more research done.

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