Foxx: No Penalties Issued Within NHTSA Over GM Ignition Recall
Though General Motors gave 15 of its employees the ax over their part of the February 2014 ignition switch recall, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told those in the National Press Club Monday that no one in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was fired or disciplined over their part of the recall and subsequent fallout.
Chrysler Group Asks For Hitch Production Boost Amid NHTSA Inquiry
A day after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked what was taking so long for a supplier to make enough hitches to cover 2.5 million recalled vehicles, Chrysler Group ordered its supplier to boost production.
Oil Booms Slowed Down By Weakening Roads
For the past few years, the oil booms in North Dakota and southern Texas have brought in a lot of money wherever oil could be drawn out. At the same time, the booms have taken their toll on amenities and infrastructure, the latter now the cause of slowing the boom down.
Barra Defends GM Top Lawyer In Second US Senate Hearing
Under fire from the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee for not having fired General Motors’ top counsel Michael Millikin, CEO Mary Barra defended her decision to keep him on the company payroll during Thursday’s hearing over the February 2014 ignition recall crisis.
Ram Truck Lineup Adopts SAE Towing Standard From 2015 Forward
The Society of Automotive Engineers recently introduced a new designation standardizing maximum towing ratings, with the aim of sorting out the mess automakers have made with their internal measurements of towing capacity. Called J2807, the new system’s first champion is none other than Ram, who have gone all-in with the standard.
Kalanick: UberX Could Become Cheaper Than Owning A Car
Uber wants to do more than disrupt the traditional taxi service, seeking to bring its pricing low enough to replace your own vehicle, period.
Obama Talks Connected Vehicles, Highway Funding
Amid touring the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Va. and having a go at a driving simulator based upon a Saturn SL, President Barack Obama talked about connected vehicles and increasing highway funding before reporters in attendance Tuesday.
Delphi "Not A Target" Of DOJ Investigation
Though under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service over abode issues, Delphi says it is not under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice over its part of the February 2014 General Motors ignition recall.
EPA Mandates Real-World Testing For All Automakers
In light of re-estimated mileage per gallon claims by Ford, Hyundai and Kia, the Environmental Protection Agency seeks to prove the claims of all automakers through real-world testings.
Nissan's D-Step Tweaks CVTs To Act More Like Traditional Automatics
CVTs aren’t the most popular of transmission options around despite its improvements to fuel efficiency and ride on a vehicle so equipped. Nissan hopes an upcoming software tweak will change a few minds, however.
Saudi Arabia Latest To Fleet-Average Fuel Economy Mandate Party
As in the United States, Europe and Japan, Saudi Arabia is now mandating new vehicles be more fuel efficient. Like the U.S., however, the Saudis will put the onus on the automakers without raising a cent on fuel prices.
General Motors Digest: July 8, 2014
In today’s General Motors Digest: Replacement ignition switches are shipping to dealership service bays in boxes that may not reflect the contents inside; GM hands over 2 million documents to the United States House of Representatives; and certain truck owners are on their own as far as rusty brake lines are concerned.
Reuters: GM Ignition Woes Came As Early As 1997
It may have taken nearly 14 years for one ignition switch issue to finally find attention, but General Motors’ ignition woes go as far back as 1997, when Chevrolet Malibu owners had their own switch problems.
BMW M235i Bests Corvette, 911 In Consumer Reports Road Testing
BMW’s M235i has earned the highest marks ever bestowed upon the German automaker’s lineup from Consumer Reports, while also besting the Porsche 911 and Chevrolet Corvette in road tests whose results were recently released online.
GM Issues Chevy Cruze Stop-Sale Over Defective Airbag Units
Airbag supplier Takata’s woes continue as General Motors has issued a stop-sale of 33,000 2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Cruzes equipped with the supplier’s airbag units.
Ford Super Dutys To Follow F-150 Toward Aluminum Future
A new aluminum age is about to dawn on Truck Mountain when its ruler, the Ford F-150, adopts the alloy for its new body in 2015. However, the revolution may not stop there if the Blue Oval has anything to say about it.
GM Offers Incentives To Speed Up Ignition Recall Repairs
With 2.6 million vehicles needing new ignition switches fueling service bay backlogs, General Motors is offering its dealership network incentives to speed up the process.
Former GM Engineer: Lower-Level Management At Root Of Company's Problems
Though the Valukas report may have reaped 15 employees linked to the February 2014 ignition switch recall — including a number of senior executives — one former General Motors employee’s experience suggests doing the same to the lower levels of corporate leadership.
NHTSA Investigates Chrysler Group Air Bag, Ignition Issues
General Motors no longer has the monopoly on ignition and air bag problems, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler Group over those very issues.
Barra Returns To Face Congress Post-Valukas Report
In today’s digest: General Motors CEO Mary Barra returns to the Beltway with Anton Valukas in tow; GM is hit with a $10 billion lawsuit; affected families appear before Barra’s testimony; and a safety group calls the Valukas report “flawed.”
GM Corporate Culture Silenced Whistleblower Over Fuel-Leak Recall
To say General Motors has a failure to communicate among itself and with the outside is an understatement that grows with each passing day, especially in light of how it treated a whistleblower in 2003 over its handling of a recall regarding fuel leaks in the automaker’s line of compact SUVs.
Federal Prosecutors Summon GM Employees For Recall Interviews
In its criminal investigation into General Motors, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharra’s office are summoning current and former employees to come to New York for interviews regarding the automaker’s actions over the ignition switch behind the February 2014 product recall of 2.6 million vehicles.
European Taxi Drivers Take To The Streets Against Uber
Much like it has in the United States, Uber and other ride-sharing services have upended the traditional taxi in Europe. Just like the U.S., taxi operators have protested the disruption the new services have caused upon them, citing the lack of properly licensed drivers and thoroughly maintained vehicles as a reason to bring them in line with the same regulations they already are mandated to follow. However, unlike the U.S., European taxi drivers took their complaints to the streets, and then some.
Nine States Investigate GM Ignition Switch Recall
In today’s General Motors digest: Nine states are investigating the handling of the automaker’s ignition switch recall; compensation will only focus on those injured or killed; a Georgia injury claim’s transfer to New York a sign of things to come for similar claims; and a federal official saw GM’s corporate culture at work during bankruptcy proceedings, yet remained silent.
Barra, Valukas To Meet With House Committee Next Week
As promised in April before both the U.S. House and Senate, General Motors CEO Mary Barra will appear next Wednesday in Washington, D.C. for a second round of congressional hearings over the February 2014 GM ignition switch recall.
AAA: 51 Percent Surveyed Willing To Pay For Better Roads
As those inside the Beltway debate how best to fund their responsibility for the nation’s transportation infrastructure, a AAA study finds most Americans would pay more taxes for better roads.
US Judicial Panel Consolidates Lawsuits, Sends Them To NY
Reuters reports the lawsuits filed against General Motors over its decade-plus handling of the ignition switched linked to 13 fatalities and 54 accidents will all be reviewed by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York, as ruled Monday by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The panel determined New York to be the appropriate venue for the hearings based upon the court’s handling of the 2009 bankruptcy that allowed the automaker to shed its former self, liabilities and all. The lawsuits to be heard by the bankruptcy judge involve economic damages, suits GM wants the judge to determine if they are blocked by the liability protections established upon its exit from bankruptcy.
Average Vehicle Age To Remain Around 11 Years Through 2019
If the highways appear to be filled with vehicles built during the middle years of Bush II’s first term, your eyes are not deceiving you: IHS Automotive says the average age of a given vehicle on the road has remained at 11.4 years at the end of 2013.
Barra: "Nobody Took Responsibility" For Defective Ignition Switch
Automotive News reports General Motors CEO Mary Barra delivered a 15-minute blistering speech before those in attendance and online regarding the Valukas report, which detailed the how and why a defective ignition switch first brought to life in 2001 led to the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million vehicles so equipped and the firestorm that followed. In her words, “nobody took responsibility” for the problems, that “there was no demonstrated sense of urgency” during the time period to fix the problems that still haunt the automaker. Barra added that she would never put the recall crisis behind GM, to “keep this painful experience” permanently upon the head of the corporation so as nothing like this would ever occur once more. At the end, she proclaimed her belief in GM and its employees in being able to face “the truth” about itself, and that the General overall was better than its previous actions.
General Motors To Release Valukas Report On Ignition Switch Thursday
Automotive News reports General Motors will release Thursday the results of attorney Anton Valukas’s three-month independent internal investigation into how and where the automaker went wrong before recalling 2.6 million vehicles affected by an out-of-spec ignition switch linked to 47 accidents and at least 13 fatalities. The announcement will come at 9 a.m. Eastern via webcast, with what CEO Mary Barra says will be an “unvarnished” look at the events surrounding the recall. In addition, GM will have an update on plans for compensating victims of the switch, though the attorney heading up the affair, Kenneth Feinberg, says a formal announcement won’t come until a few weeks down the road. Reuters adds the Valukas report will likely exonerate Barra, former CEO Dan Akerson and other senior execs and board members of any wrongdoing over the recall, with “a number of people” to be formally dismissed from the company due to their ties to recall. The report will be turned over to the federal government by the end of June.
Feinberg: Report On GM Victims Compensation "Weeks Away"
The Detroit News reports Kenneth Feinberg, whose services were retained by General Motors regarding compensation for victims of the out-of-spec ignition switch linked to 47 accidents and at least 13 fatalities, stated an announcement regarding compensation is “a few weeks away.” Feinberg adds that while his client may be making its own statement on the matter, “it will not include any details about a compensation plan since no such plan yet exists.” The attorney has worked on similar programs in the past, including those affected by the 2011 BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster, Agent Orange, asbestos and the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. in early September of 2001.
Michigan Legislators, Business Groups Debate Proposed Fuel Tax Hike
State senators in Michigan returned to Lansing Monday in a rare session to discuss raising fuel taxes to fund improvements to the state’s road infrastructure.
Akerson Claims No Knowledge Of Ignition Switch Issues During GM Tenure
Last week, the B&B learned from former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson that current CEO Mary Barra did not know about the ignition switch that has since given his old company a months-long headache. The B&B then asked if Akerson himself knew of the problem on his way to be at his wife’s side and that of his colleagues at The Carlyle Group.
Automotive News reports the answer is “No.” In a post on Forbes magazine’s blog, both he and GM chair Tim Solso claim they didn’t know about the ignition switch issues at the heart of the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million vehicles. Akerson stated that if he had known about the problem, Barra would have been made aware as he handed the reins of the automaker to her in late December 2013. Solso says he didn’t become aware until after Barra called him to let him know the bad news, having become a non-voting member of the board in the following January.
Jeep's Nine-Speed Undergoes Second Reflash For 100k Cherokees
Remember the nine-speed transmission in the new Jeep Cherokee that gave our rising superstar managing editor a hard time, followed by everyone else giving him a hard time about the truth of this car before walking back their statements in light of their seeing the light? More than 100,000 of the crossovers built before May 5 will need theirs readjusted.
China To Scrap 5.33M Non-Compliant Vehicles In 2014 To Improve Air Quality
In its ongoing effort to clear the air in its major cities, the Chinese government has plans to throw 5.33 million non-compliant vehicles into the crusher by the end of 2014.
GM Raises Accident Total Linked To Ignition Recall To 47
As General Motors maintains 13 individuals lost their lives behind the wheel of vehicles affected by the February 2014 ignition switch recall, the automaker has boosted the total number of accidents related to the recall from 30 to 47.
FTC Launches Investigation Into Deceptive Marketing Of Biweekly Payments
The Federal Trade Commission is launching an investigation into biweekly payments sold as a product by dealership finance departments on the basis that consumers may not be getting their money’s worth with such payments.
GM Adds 2.4M To 2014 Recall Total, Recalls More Than Sold In Five Years
Autoblog reports General Motors has issued four new recalls affecting a total of 2.42 million vehicles. As of this writing, a total of 15 million units have been recalled by GM since February, a number Jalopnik says exceeds the total number of vehicles sold by the automaker in the past five years.
NHTSA Drops $35M Hammer On GM Over Delayed Recall
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has spoken: General Motors will pay the maximum fine of $35 million for its decade-plus delay of the recall of 2.6 million vehicles affected by an out-of-spec ignition switch linked to over 30 accidents and 13 fatalities.
GM Issues Five New Recalls For 2.99 Million Vehicles
And the beat goes on: General Motors has issued five new recalls for 2.99 million vehicles, bringing the number of affected GM products to a total of 13 million worldwide since late February of this year.
GM Conducts 16 Additional Tests To Confirm Temporary Ignition Switch Solution
Though it took over a decade to issue a recall over the out-of-spec ignition switch at the heart of its ongoing debacle, General Motors is being thorough with the part now, performing 16 tests — in addition to the 80-plus before them — to confirm no harm will come the way of the 2.6 million owners affected.
AAA Study: Cost Of Ownership Falls In 2014 Due To Lower Fuel Prices
In its annual Your Driving Costs study, AAA says the cost of owning and operating a vehicle has fallen on the back of lower fuel prices, though its findings leave a little to be desired with current fuel costs.
Survey: GM Worst In Its Relationships With Tier 1 Suppliers
Already dealing with a perception-is-reality problem over its ongoing product recall crisis, General Motors now has a new perception problem: Tier 1 suppliers find the automaker to be the worst automaker in the United States when it comes to their relationships with the company.
Emissions Analytics Challenges EPA Over Fuel Economy Rating Methodology
As fuel economy figures from the Environmental Protection Agency have been put under the gun for being heavily inaccurate in a few cases, a third-party testing company is offering the public real-world mileage numbers for comparison.
French Court Overturns Sales Ban Of Daimler Vehicles Using R134a
France’s Conseil d’Etat announced Monday that it has overturned the government’s ban of a handful of Mercedes-Benz vehicles over parent company Daimler’s refusal to cease usage of R134a coolant currently under phase-out by the European Union.
GM Begins Ignition Lawsuit Talks, US Bankruptcy Court Press For Settlement
Automotive News reports General Motors’ attorney Kenneth Feinberg met with Texas attorney Robert Hilliard at the former’s office within the Beltway to begin preliminary discussions over the claims of the latter’s 300-plus clients affected by the ignition switch recall. During the talk, no agreements were reached regarding compensation, while Hilliard viewing the first meeting as GM’s way of convincing him that it would do “the right thing” by his clients. Feinberg states he is gathering proposals for a compensation program similar to the one he orchestrated for 9/11 victims and victims of other major disasters, and should have a package ready within the next few weeks at the latest.
European Automakers Claimed To Use Testing Loopholes In Emissions Compliance
Though the European Environment Agency proclaimed new cars sold throughout the European Union in 2013 as being 4 percent cleaner than those sold in 2012, an environmentalist group says testing loopholes are the cause behind the results.
GM Changes Mind About Airbag Recall, Ignition Switches
Automotive News reports General Motors, already being hammered from all sides from its delayed recall of 2.59 million vehicles affected by a defect in the ignition switch, issued a customer-satisfaction campaign in mid-March of this year for 1.2 million crossovers whose airbags may fail to deploy in a side-impact crash, an issue known to the automaker since 2008. Once the National Highway Traffic Safety learned of the decision, however, GM did an about-face and upgraded the campaign to a full recall. In addition, its Executive Field Action Decision Committee considered a full recall as early as November 2010, opting to issue service bulletins four times between then and 2012 instead, which spokesman Alan Adler claims satisfied the issue thoroughly without the need for increased action.
Obama Administration Delivers $302 Billion Transportation Funding Proposal Before Congress
A $302 billion, four-year plan to fund the U.S. Highway Trust Fund — and, in turn, any road and transit projects on the table during the period — was brought before Congress by the Obama administration through the U.S. Department of Transportation.
EPA: Automakers Ahead Of 2025 CAFE MPG, CO2 Emissions Targets
Though automakers still have a decade to hit the 2025 CAFE target average of 54.5 mpg, the Environmental Protection Agency proclaimed in a just-released annual report that the automakers were ahead of schedule in meeting said target.
2015 Chevrolet SS To Gain Six-Speed Manual, Magnetic Suspension This Summer
Up until now, the Australian-turned-American Chevrolet SS checked off nearly all of the boxes for performance enthusiasts who sought a sedan that had a Corvette soul, but could take the family out to a weekend at the Circuit of the Americas. Only a six-speed automatic and old-school suspension kept it from matching up with the likes of the Cadillac CTS-V, Chrysler 300 SRT8 and other similar sedans.
Ford C-Max Sales Decline Post-Fuel Economy Revision
GM Saved From 'Park It Now' Order, Looks To Strengthen Liability Protections
The Detroit News reports U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos delivered a six-page ruling in favor of General Motors, saving the automaker from issuing a “park it now” order that would have proved costly both financially and in reputation. Had the order gone forward, it would have set a precedent that not even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could attempt in its limited penalty power. The attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit for the order, Robert Hilliard, may appeal.
Too Big To Fail, Too Confused To Operate: Analysis Of 619 Pages Of Cobalt Engineering Documents [w/ Full Text]
The House Energy & Commerce Committee recently released the documents GM submitted for investigation, which includes emails and internal reports documenting GM’s response to reports of their early Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion models inadvertently shutting the car “off” while driving due to an ignition cylinder that was, simply, too easy to turn out of the “run” position; and in the case of several accidents, allowed the ignition cylinder to rotate out of the run condition before or during accidents, causing the airbags to not deploy when required.
The documents, totaling 619 pages (some with repeat info), reveal just how deep seated “old GM” was in their cost cutting ways (Driving down supplier costs to the point of sacrificing quality, admittedly poorly designed ignition cylinder, and removing internal quality control on the parts), and just how blind sided “new GM” was during their investigations. It also confirms how suspended engineers Ray DeGiorgio and Gary Altman were involved in the ignition switch response, and fuzzy problem solving. Full text and an analysis of key documents below.
European-Style Octane Could Boost Efficiency, Power In US Engines
Should United States gasoline octane standards be updated to match those in Europe, f uel efficiency could see a significant improvement, along with increases in engine power.
Marchionne: No Money In Small Diesel Cars
Bucking a trend that has been gathering steam beyond its traditional European stronghold, FCA head Sergio Marchionne said that FCA’s upcoming product plan, due to be revealed in May, would be light on diesel engines for B and C-segment cars.
GM Shareholders Unflappable As Recall Repairs Begin This Week
In spite of General Motors losing $3 billion in shareholder value over four weeks since the recall crisis began, Bloomberg reports investors are holding onto their shares in the belief the automaker will recover from the debacle. Though questions about the delay persist, most shareholders are pleased with how CEO Mary Barra is guiding her company through the maelstrom.
Other factors in the massive stock decline include overseas challenges and weaknesses in product lines, including bringing European profits into the black, while Chevrolet’s Silverado fights Ram’s offerings in order to regain its traditional place in the monthly sales charts.
General Motors Puts Stop-Sale & Recall On Chevrolet Cruze Due To Axle Failure [W/ Full Text]
Last weekend, Chevrolet issued a stop-sale 2013-2014 Chevrolet Cruze equipped with the 1.4L turbo-four with no initial reason for the action. A stop-sale is an order given by a manufacturer to dealers to cease the sales of a specific model of car to repair a problem. It can be anything from minor quality issues, up to major mechanical maladies. While not an uncommon event, this comes on the heels of a tidal wave of expanded recalls and investigations centered around the maligned Delta-Platform cars. TTAC was able to obtain a copy of the stop-sale notice for the B&B, which pinpoints the failure to the front-passenger half-shaft not meeting GM specifications, with the half-shafts possibly fracturing as the result.
BlackBerry Fights Google, Apple To Maintain Connected-Car Lead
Though BlackBerry owns a sliver of the smartphone market they once dominated, its QNX-based connected-car systems may be the best weapon they have in maintaining its lead over the companies that drove the Canadian company nearly out of the smartphone business.
GM Hits Social Media, As Part Number Debacle Adds Confusion
The latest development in the GM ignition recall fiasc