Tag: Quality

By on June 20, 2019

J.D. Power’s 2019 Initial Quality Study (IQS) shows industry-wide problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) failing to improve for the first time since 2014. Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai take the top three spots, improving on their 2018 results, while 18 of the 32 brands studied declined.

Hyundai Motor Group’s brands continue their trend of increasing their advantage over their competitors. The Genesis brand improved from 68 to 63 PP100, Kia from 72 to 70 PP100, and Hyundai from 74 to 71 PP100. Ford and Lincoln round out the top five with 83 and 84 PPH, respectively. Land Rover is most-improved over 2018, improving by 37 PP100, but they still sit second from last in the study at 123 PP100. (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2019

2016 Ford Explorer

This isn’t the first recall for Ford vehicles with rear ends that may step out of line, but it’s certainly the largest. On Wednesday, the automaker announced the recall of 1.2 million Ford Explorers in the U.S. out of fear that rear suspension toe links could fracture, leading to a loss of control.

The recalls covers 2011-2017 Explorer models, with Ford saying the issue has already caused one driver to veer into a curb. Over the past three years, several suspension recalls have dogged this generation of Explorer; the cause of the potential fractures ranged from improper welds to the accumulation of a certain type of mud.

Speaking of that mud, it’s more of a menace than originally thought. In a separate recall, Ford today called for the return of four Ford and Lincoln models sold in Canada to replace vulnerable rear toe links. (Read More…)

By on June 10, 2019

It’s not good PR for a brand hoping to snap up wary would-be converts, but it does suggest that Audi’s quality management apparatus is at least partly up to snuff.

On Monday the German automaker announced a voluntary recall of 540 E-Tron SUVs sold in the United States out of fear that a glitch could spark a large and hard-to-control fire. The E-Tron, a fully electric midsize SUV with a (happily) conventional appearance, saw its first full month of U.S. sales in May, moving 856 units. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2019

2019 RAM 1500 front quarter

It’s a bad week for owners of current- and older-gen Ram pickups, assuming they’re safety conscious and have busy summer schedules. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles launched two recalls this week targeting its full-size trucks; the latest being a voluntary callback of nearly 343,000 2019 and 2020 Ram 1500s over a software glitch that could disable airbags and seat belt pretensioners.

Then there’s the voluntary recall of old-gen Ram 1500s from the 2018 and 2019 model years (Ram “Classic” for 2019) that could drop their driveshaft while driving. (Read More…)

By on June 3, 2019

2016 Chevrolet Traverse

A half-decade after General Motors recalled 1,339,355 full-size crossovers due to a risk of seat belt failure, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched an investigation into the models.

Following reports sent in from owners, the federal agency is concerned that the 2014 recall did not fix the problem of detached front seat belt cables in 2009-2014 vehicles. (Read More…)

By on May 18, 2019

Sudden stalls. Tailgates that open on their own. These issues formed the basis of two Fiat Chrysler recalls in 2018, and, one year later, history is repeating itself.

On Friday, the automaker called back roughly 600,000 Chrysler Pacifica minivans and Ram pickups for the same ghost-in-the-machine phenomena that led to the earlier recalls. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2019

2019 Ford Ranger rear quarter

Recalls to prevent cars from rolling away from their owners have become commonplace, and Ford is no stranger to the phenomenon. Last year, the automaker recalled 550,000 Fusions and Escapes to replace vulnerable automatic transmission shift cables that could leave the car in the wrong gear, regardless of where the driver positions the shift lever.

On Wednesday, Ford announced a recall for the exact same problem, plus a second one for a similar issue. While the Fusion makes up the bulk of the affected vehicles, the brand new Ranger pickup also finds itself on the receiving end of some unwanted PR. (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2018

2018 F-150 Power Stroke Diesel, Image: Ford

A collective groan must have echoed through the automotive industry a couple of years back, after the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began testing headlight performance. Early results showed that most headlights, even those on expensive vehicles, fell well short of optimal performance. Most fell short of acceptable performance.

Since then, improvements have begun — slowly, but surely. It’s in an automaker’s best interest to slap a couple of bright peepers on the front of their vehicles from a PR and marketing perspective, but there’s cost issues to be considered. Still, no vehicle can take home that coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating without good headlights.

In its 2018 testing, some 32 models offered standard or available headlights worthy of a “good” rating. That’s out of 165 models. (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

A hearing that was expected to bring together representatives of Hyundai and Kia and the Senate Commerce Committee, scheduled for November 14th, has been called off.

The committee hoped to gleam information and answers on reports of engine fires in certain Hyundai/Kia products — a long-burning issue, pardon the pun, that’s increasing ever greater attention, especially from public safety groups. Recent media reports made it look like representatives didn’t plan to attend. (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 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 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 10, 2018

There’s a good reason why insurance premiums are rising like your author’s blood pressure while scanning his Twitter feed, and it’s not just because providers really, really like making money. (They do, of course.) Average repair bills in the U.S. rose by about a third in the past three years, mainly due to the proliferation of safety technology, and insurance premiums followed. Country-wide, premiums rose 7.9 percent in 2017.

Cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and radar sensors tend to be located in areas of the vehicle most prone to damage, even in even low-speed collisions, and sturdy, exposed 5 mph bumpers are unfortunately a thing of the past. Many would prefer to see all automakers design their cars with repairs in mind, thus lowering future costs and premiums.

As an example of the headache of repairing technology-festooned vehicles, behold the average front-corner collision repair cost of one rare Korean sedan. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2018

2019 Subaru Ascent

A recall serious enough to necessitate the replacement of a car is rare, but Subaru should be glad it caught the problem before more faulty vehicles left the factory.

Over the course of eight days in July, 293 Ascents from the 2019 model year made it off the assembly line while potentially missing a full complement of welds — hardly something the automaker can just go back and touch up. (Read More…)

By on August 8, 2018

Tuesday was — accidentally, it turns out — all about the Ford Ranger, at least for those with no interest in Tesla and its business machinations. As we await the return of the midsize pickup’s online build and price tool, Ford is taking an unusual step to get old versions of the truck into the repair shop.

The automaker is offering dealers cash for every 2006 Ranger they can track down and pull off the road. (Read More…)

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