Category: Quality

By on February 11, 2019

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

Subaru’s sales in the United States effectively tripled in the past decade, making it the most important market for the brand by a wide margin. However, the automaker has had to expend quite a bit of energy in its home country of Japan to address recalls and regulatory scandals over the last few years.

While the duality hasn’t caused issues on a global scale, many observers wonder how long its good fortune will last. In America, Subaru is a feel-good brand that uses love as a core marketing concept to improve sales. In Japan, it has become synonymous with overworking employees lacking compensation, regulatory scandals, sudden work stoppages, and recalls. Many believe it’s only a matter of time before Subaru of America will have to contend with Japan’s issues, and evidence exists that problems are already beginning to surface in the West. Read More >

By on January 18, 2019

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Image: GM

In a perfect world, a vehicle’s airbags would only deploy in circumstances where the driver, in hindsight, applauds the life-saving buffer’s invention. Not included in that list of circumstances is a spinout, far removed from hard obstacles or other vehicles.

One Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driver isn’t applauding General Motors after his car’s side curtain airbags made their presence known at 19 mph, free of any impacting object or rollover. Read More >

By on January 7, 2019

A group of Ford owners hoping to cash in on bad nuts did not get their day in court. Instead, their proposed class-action lawsuit was tossed out.

We told you about the 120-count complaint against Ford back in 2017, when the well-known firm Hagens Berman — a veteran of auto litigation — announced the lawsuit. Owners complained about swollen, delaminating lug nuts, stating that this led to out-of-pocket costs, safety concerns, and a reduction in their vehicle’s value. After looking at the case, the judge saw no reason to proceed. Read More >

By on December 22, 2018

All-New 2018 Ford F-150 - Image: Ford

Harnessing the magic of electricity to keep your engine block toasty is a better option than crossing your fingers and saying a silent prayer before turning the key (or pressing the button) on cold mornings. Unfortunately for Ford F-150 owners living in northern climes, the block heater residing beneath their truck’s hood might pose a danger to their vehicle — and perhaps their house.

Hoping to remedy a fire risk, Ford Motor Company has issued a recall on roughly 874,000 late-model F-150s in North America. Read More >

By on November 21, 2018

Prosecutors may be looking into a vehicle recall affecting certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with the company’s turbocharged 2.0-liter and naturally-aspirated 2.4 liter engines. It’s not an investigation to determine if a recall is needed; rather, it’s a look-see to find out if existing recalls were conducted correctly.

It remains to be seen in these early stages if any charges will be filed. If action is taken, however, the fines levied would likely cut deeply into the company’s balance sheet.

Read More >

By on November 7, 2018

ford explorer police interceptor utility

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s probe into reports of exhaust gasses leaking into the cabin of certain Ford Explorers continues, the company doesn’t have to worry about the brakes on its law enforcement variants anymore.

After launching an investigation into front brake hose failures — at the request of the Sacramento Police Department — in 2015, the NHTSA returned the verdict this week. Nothing inherently wrong with those front stoppers, it said. It seems the Sacramento PD really, really pushes its vehicles in pursuit training. Read More >

By on November 5, 2018

2019 Subaru Ascent duo - Image: Subaru

Subaru reported an operating loss in its most recent fiscal quarter, with recalls and regulatory scandals in its home market dragging the company into the red. The company said it lost $22 million in the quarter ending September 30th, a departure from last year’s $816.3 million operating profit. Meanwhile, global volume fell 6 percent.

In the company’s largest market — the United States — it was an entirely different scenario, with American buyers conspiring to give the brand its 83rd consecutive year-over-year sales increase. A record for October, too, but that’s sort of a given. Very nice of those buyers, but the credit really belongs to the Ascent crossover. Read More >

By on November 1, 2018

Image: Subaru

The defunct Scion brand isn’t done making headlines, it seems. The rear-drive FR-S 2+2 sport coupe is among a number of vehicles — mainly Subarus — recalled over valve springs that could break, leading to serious engine damage.

In total, some 400,000 vehicles built between 2012 and 2013 are included in the recall; among them, Subaru BRZs, Foresters, and Imprezas. The Japanese-market Toyota 86 and North American-market Scion FR-S, twins of the BRZ, feature the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Read More >

By on October 31, 2018

In the wake of a Dallas County judge’s decision to lower the amount of money awarded to a couple whose children were injured in a 2016 rear-end crash, Toyota Motor Corp. plans to continue fighting to clear its name.

A jury found the automaker at fault back in August, deciding that the seatbacks on the family’s 2002 Lexus ES300 were faulty and that the owners were not warned about the dangers. The family stood to receive $242 million in compensation. Due to monetary caps placed on punitive damages in the state of Texas, the final amount was pared back to $208 million.

Toyota isn’t letting the matter slide into the rear-view. The automaker continues to claim that the car’s seatbacks worked fine — the severity of the impact was to blame. Read More >

By on October 25, 2018

2017 Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback, Image: Ford

While Ford unceremoniously ended Focus production in the U.S. earlier this year, the model is trying its best to stay in the public eye. The automaker has announced a recall of nearly 1.5 million Focus vehicles in North America to prevent a stuck purge valve from vacuuming up the 2.0-liter engine’s performance.

As owners await notification, Ford implores them to head to their local gas station and fill’er up. Read More >

By on October 11, 2018

2018 Toyota C-HR, Image: Toyota

It’s only 700 vehicles from the 2019 model year, but the voluntary recall issued by Toyota today involves the possibility of the rear wheels falling off. That seems a little more concerning than having your Prius go into limp mode.

The issue with the C-HR lies in its rear axle hub bearing bolts, one or more of which may not have received a proper tightening at the factory. Should they come loose while on the road, the C-HR could end up a three-wheeler. Read More >

By on October 6, 2018

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

A key component tasked with taming the Jeep Wrangler’s front live axle might not live up to expectations, forcing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to issue a recall on 2018 and 2019 Wrangler JL models.

The problem lies in a weld that, in about four percent of the recalled JLs, did not occur in the right place.

Confirmed by JLWranglerForums, the recall impacts about 18,000 2018-2019 Wranglers. In a dealer communiqué, FCA claims some vehicles “may have been built with a front track bar bracket weld located off the seam,” which could lead to the bracket separating from the vehicle’s frame. “The separation of the front track bar bracket from the frame may cause a reduction in the steering response, which can cause a vehicle crash without prior warning,” FCA states.

In response to the voluntary recall, FCA has issued a stop sale on afflicted vehicles. Owners of existing JLs will be notified this quarter if their vehicle is included in the recall, with all impacted vehicles inspected for the wonky weld. The automaker will re-weld the bracket if deemed necessary.

Instances of front track bars shearing off of new Wranglers first appeared on owners forums earlier this year.

In September, the new Wrangler’s popularity helped the Jeep brand reach a monthly sales record, with volume up 14 percent, year over year. Wrangler sales rose 2 percent last month, despite one less selling day than the preceding September and a number of factors that suppressed sales across the industry. Year to date, Wrangler sales are up 27 percent.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

By on September 29, 2018

Tariffs and other pressures are weighing on the once blistering hot Chinese new car market, and a suspension issue has now added new storm clouds to General Motors’ formerly sunny skies. The automaker’s Chinese arm, GM Shanghai, has announced the recall of 3.3 million Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac models.

Bad news for a foreign company in a suddenly dodgy market. Read More >

By on September 21, 2018

2017 Honda Civic Si Sedan - Image: Honda

Sorry, was that too snarky? Our headline alludes to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent awarding of five stars in all crash test categories to the Tesla Model 3 — a bit of news that’s made the rounds lately. It’s a worthy achievement, so hats off to Tesla for building a car that can take a beating.

However, if you’re still waiting patiently for Tesla to deliver your car, here’s a listing of vehicles costing less than the current “base” Model 3 (the $44,000 Long Range model) that are just as safe in a collision, and are available to buy at a dealership near you. Like, even today. Read More >

By on September 21, 2018

Four years after launching a massive, incredibly delayed recall aimed at preventing further deaths from its faulty ignition switches, General Motors freed itself from a criminal case launched in the scandal’s wake.

Earlier this week, federal prosecutors in New York wrote U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, compelling him to dismiss the case. Nathan approved the request, lifting GM free of the caudron. The rationale for dismissing the two criminal charges — concealing evidence from federal officials and wire fraud — comes down to good behavior on GM’s part, something that certainly doesn’t describe its past actions. Read More >

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