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25 Nov 2014

Parts shortage could mean airbag inflator replacement takes two years

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US-TRANSPORTATION-TAKATA

Drivers in the US might be stuck with quite a wait to get their vehicles repaired under the Takata airbag inflator recall. As things stand now, the Japanese supplier could need as long as two years to produce enough replacement parts to service every affected model in America. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is successful in making the campaign nationwide, then that timeline could grow even longer.

Mounting government pressure, including a recent Senate hearing (pictured above), is attempting to push a solution. Takata is currently building about 300,000 replacement inflators a month at its Monclova, Mexico, factory, and the company plans to boost that to around 450,000 by January, according to Automotive News. The business is also moving some production to Freiburg, Germany.

Because Takata isn’t the only player in the world producing airbags, it might seem that the affected automakers could simply switch companies. However, that likely isn’t going to work either. “We have been advised by suppliers that the development and production of a replacement inflator for a particular model by a supplier other than Takata could take a minimum of one year, and could take longer,” said Dino Triantafyllos, Toyota chief quality officer in North America to Automotive News.

Actually getting people to bring their vehicle to dealers for the recall is an issue, as well. It only takes about an hour to switch out inflators. However, despite national publicity, documents submitted to NHTSA from eight of the affected automakers indicate only 437,936 vehicles are fixed out of a pool of about 7.5 million, according to Automotive News. With models going back as far as 2000 potentially needing the new parts, tracking down the current owner can be difficult. Just look at the similar problems Jeep is facing over its campaign to protect fuel tanks on older SUVs.

Parts shortage could mean airbag inflator replacement takes two years originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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23 Nov 2014

Will states start to prevent you from registering cars that have pending recalls?

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Air Bag Recall

The impact of 2014 – henceforth known as Year of the Recalls – will have long-ranging consequences on the auto industry. One of the biggest changes, though, might not be in the way manufacturers inform the government of pending recalls or in the way Uncle Sam punishes automakers that violate its rules, but in the ability to sell cars with pending recalls. And strangely enough, the charge is being led by an automaker.

Honda Executive Vice President Rick Schostek, pictured above, argued during a meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee that the government needs to take a role in mandating that consumers have recall services performed. That could include withholding registration for vehicles with pending recalls, Bloomberg reports. Honda is just one of the automakers currently embroiled in the massive Takata airbag recall.

“It’s a good idea,” safety advocate Clarence Ditlow said, according to Bloomberg. “California won’t give you a registration if you have an emissions recall. Why not a safety recall?”

“Honda is going to use any innovative tools to find customers and get these recalls done,” Schostek told the Transportation Committee. The exec, aside from echoing Ditlow’s viewpoint, also argued for requiring dealerships and garages to inform vehicle owners of incomplete recalls, regardless of the service provided. Schostek also made an argument that state governments could step in, as well.

Whatever ends up happening, it’s fair to say that between Takata and General Motors, the future of recalls for American consumers are set for significant changes.

Will states start to prevent you from registering cars that have pending recalls? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19 Nov 2014

Ford recalling 65k Fusions from 2014 and 2015 because key can be removed

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Ford Fusion

Ford is recalling an estimated 64,869 examples of the 2014-2015 Fusion, Fusion Energi and Fusion Hybrid in North America because the key can be removed when the vehicle isn’t in Park under certain conditions. Specifically, the campaign covers 56,479 units in the US, 6,048 in Canada and 2,342 in Mexico, according to the automaker’s tally on November 11.

Ford says a programming problem in the instrument cluster means that the key can be removed 30 minutes after the ignition is turned off, even if the transmission is not in Park. The situation where this could happen seems quite limited, and the company is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue. However, the fault puts the vehicle out of compliance with federal regulations covering theft protection and rollaways, and must be repaired.

The fix is easy: Ford will reprogram the instrument cluster at no cost to consumers. According to Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker in an email to Autoblog, “We will notify customers the week of January 5th.” Scroll down to read Ford’s announcement.

Continue reading Ford recalling 65k Fusions from 2014 and 2015 because key can be removed

Ford recalling 65k Fusions from 2014 and 2015 because key can be removed originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19 Nov 2014

Honda is replacing airbags nationwide, not just in humid states

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Honda Recalls Over 300,000 Vehicles Over Air Bag Issue

With a Senate hearing scheduled for November 20, the investigations into the exploding airbag inflators from automotive supplier Takata are just beginning. Honda is among the automakers most affected by the problem with over five million vehicles potentially in need of repair in the US, according to the last estimate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But the actual number being fixed could be even higher because the company is also working with worried owners nationwide.

According to the Associated Press, Honda is willing to perform the repair for concerned owners of affected vehicles who live outside of the high-humidity regions that the recall covers. In a letter to customers online, the company explains that it wants to work with them to fix the problem and even provide temporary transportation, if necessary.

“This is not a new thing, and it does not represent us including vehicles outside of those regions within the recall or investigatory campaigns. It is a part of our ongoing efforts to work with our customers individually to resolve their concerns, even if their vehicle is not technically part of one of those actions,” said Honda spokesperson Chris Martin to Autoblog via email.

The latest reports indicate Takata’s faulty parts may be linked to five deaths worldwide and at least 139 injuries. According to the AP, Honda confirms at least 46 people were harmed in its vehicles. NHTSA estimates put the total number of vehicles possibly in need of repair at around 7.8 million in the US.

Honda and Takata are also facing a lawsuit from the family of a woman from Florida who allegedly died of her injuries from one of the exploding airbags. According to the AP, the case claims that the companies hid the problem. Scroll down to read Honda’s entire letter to owners.

Continue reading Honda is replacing airbags nationwide, not just in humid states

Honda is replacing airbags nationwide, not just in humid states originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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19 Nov 2014

NHTSA demands national recall of Takata airbags

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Japan Honda Air Bag Death

The justification behind limiting the Takata airbag recall only to certain high humidity areas in the US always seemed somewhat dubious. The US Department of Transportation apparently agrees because in a detailed statement posted on the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the feds are requesting nationwide action. At the same time, the government’s investigation into Takata and the affected automakers is deepening.

Based on a recent failure outside of the regional recall area, NHTSA and the DOT now believe a national recall of Takata’s driver’s side frontal airbags is necessary. The regulators are already in contact with the supplier and automakers to push for those expanded campaigns. “Unless Takata and the manufacturers quickly agree to this recall, NHTSA will use the full extent of its statutory powers to ensure vehicles that use the same or similar air bag inflator are recalled,” it says in the statement.

Furthermore, NHTSA is expanding its analysis into what causes these inflators to explode. All 10 affected automakers (BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota) must file detailed reports under oath to the agency about “completed, ongoing or planned testing” of the parts. The regulator is also requesting even more information from Takata about changes to the chemical makeup of its inflators. Responses to all of these inquiries are due December 5.

“By demanding this national recall, NHTSA has demonstrated once again that it will follow data and evidence to protect the lives of Americans on the road and to hold manufacturers accountable,” said Secretary Anthony Foxx in the statement.

This new request is just the latest step in an ongoing process. Takata must submit other documents to NHTSA by December 1 as part of an earlier investigation, and the company faces a Senate hearing on November 20 into the problem. The supplier and Honda are also named in a lawsuit in Florida from the family of a woman who allegedly died due to the faulty part.

By NHTSA’s estimation about 7.8 million vehicles are potentially in need of repair under the recall. So far, five deaths worldwide have possible links to the rupturing inflators with four of those in the US. However, just one of these reportedly occurred inside of the regional recall zone. At least 139 injuries have been allegedly related to the problem. Scroll down to read NHTSA’s full statement.

Continue reading NHTSA demands national recall of Takata airbags

NHTSA demands national recall of Takata airbags originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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18 Nov 2014

Land Rover recalling 28k Range Rovers and LR4s for tire pressure issue

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2014 Range Rover

Some of Land Rover’s latest vehicles need a fix for their tire pressure monitoring system affecting about 28,037 units. The recall covers the 2013-2014 LR4, 2014 Range Rover and 2014 Range Rover Sport that have a build date between September 16, 2013, and June 30, 2014.

The issue is that the TPMS might not be able to locate the sensors while the vehicle is underway. As a result, the low tire pressure warning light could illuminate even if the tire pressures are accurate. If this happens and one of the tires then loses air pressure, the driver wouldn’t know about it.

The fix is simply an update of the Body Control Module software for most models. However, it’s not compatible with the 2013 LR4, and these vehicles are getting new sensors. Obviously, this is being done at no charge to owners by Land Rover, and the recall is expected to start on December 1. Scroll down to read the announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the detailed report as a PDF, here.

Continue reading Land Rover recalling 28k Range Rovers and LR4s for tire pressure issue

Land Rover recalling 28k Range Rovers and LR4s for tire pressure issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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17 Nov 2014

GM extends deadline on ignition-switch compensation

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General Motors Investigation

Victims of faulty ignition switches in General Motors vehicles have been given an additional month to apply for compensation. This comes as administrator Kenneth Feinberg and his team increase their efforts to reach those potentially eligible for recompense under the program. The deadline, which was previously set for the last day of this calendar year, has now been extended to January 31, 2015.

“We agreed with Ken Feinberg’s recommendation to extend the compensation program deadline,” said the automaker in a statement released on Sunday. “Our goal with the program has been to reach every eligible person impacted.”

As of Friday, November 14, the GM Ignition Compensation Claims Resolution Facility reported having received a total of 2,105 claims, including 217 for deaths, 128 for crippling Category One injuries and 1,760 for less severe Category Two injuries. Of those, the facility found a total of 72 eligible claims (33 for deaths, 5 for Category One injuries and 34 for Category Two injuries) and is still reviewing a further 292 claims (27 for deaths, 30 Category One and 235 Category Two).

Continue reading GM extends deadline on ignition-switch compensation

GM extends deadline on ignition-switch compensation originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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15 Nov 2014

New death linked to Takata airbag crisis, Honda recalls 170k vehicles overseas

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Air Bag Recall

The safety crisis surrounding Takata’s exploding airbags continues to expand. In the latest revelation, Honda confirms another death linked to the faulty parts, and the company is expanding its recall of the components. However, none of the newly added vehicles are in the United States.

With the confirmation of this report, there are now five deaths linked to the faulty airbags. According to The New York Times, a pregnant woman in Malaysia was killed on July 27 in a 2003 Honda City when she crashed into another vehicle, and the inflator ruptured. This was the first announced case outside of the US.

The faulty part in the woman’s car was reportedly made at a now-closed Takata factory in Georgia, according to the NYT, and it’s the first known example from that location. In response, Honda recalled about 170,000 vehicles in Europe and Asia to replace the potentially bad inflators. The latest campaign brings the total number of recalled vehicles worldwide to around 14.3 million units.

In addition to the tragedy, Takata is facing several investigations in the US. A federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York subpoenaed the company’s documents connected to the recall, according to The New York Times. The Senate Commerce Committee is holding its own hearing into the problem on November 20 with representatives from many of the affected automakers expected to testify.

Leaders at Honda and Takata both are under intense scrutiny at the moment. The chairman of the parts supplier has been criticized for remaining out of sight during the catastrophe, while former bosses at the automaker have met with the current CEO over the company’s recent recalls.

New death linked to Takata airbag crisis, Honda recalls 170k vehicles overseas originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 15 Nov 2014 08:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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15 Nov 2014

Weekly Recap: Ignition-switch recall stirs new controversy for GM

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General Motors Recall

GM has recalled an estimated 2.6 million vehicles for the ignition switches, and it’s believed at least 32 deaths have resulted from the crashes.

General Motors again came under fire this week for its handling of its far-reaching ignition-switch recall.

Newly released emails indicated GM had ordered 500,000 replacement ignition switches nearly two months before it notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the dangers posed by the cars. An urgent order was placed in December 2013 with parts supplier Delphi Automotive, though the recall wasn’t announced until February 2014.

“The question is why the delay and how many lives were put at risk since GM waited at least two months before issuing a recall even though it had already decided to order parts,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in a statement.

GM said it has revamped its safety processes, compressing the time required to take action, and a vice president of global safety, Jeff Boyer, was appointed in April. The company says these moves allow information about safety issues to reach senior executives sooner.

“These emails are further confirmation that our system needed reform, and we have done so,” GM spokesman Alan Adler told Autoblog earlier this week. “We have reorganized our entire safety investigation and decision process and have more investigators, move issues more quickly and make decisions with better data.”

Continue reading Weekly Recap: Ignition-switch recall stirs new controversy for GM

Weekly Recap: Ignition-switch recall stirs new controversy for GM originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 15 Nov 2014 11:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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12 Nov 2014

Senator angry over latest General Motors ignition-switch revelations

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Following fresh revelations that General Motors has continued to conceal information related to its ongoing safety crisis, a leading US Senator has called the company’s conduct “outrageous” and called for more hearings on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), one of the top critics of the automaker’s conduct in handling an ignition-switch flaw now linked to at least 32 deaths, said Tuesday that GM’s “continuing, purposeful concealment strains credulity, and stains the company’s conscience – setting back efforts to reclaim GM’s good name.”

General Motors had internally identified Averill as one of the 13 victims it had initially acknowledged as related to the defect.

His comments came one day after The New York Times reported the company withheld critical information from the family of Jean Averill, a Connecticut woman killed in a single-car crash in 2003 that it determined was caused by the defective ignition switch.

General Motors had internally identified Averill as one of the 13 victims it had initially acknowledged as related to the defect. In fact, hers was the first death that involved a Saturn Ion, one of the vehicles at the center of multiple investigations spawned by the problem.

But the company reportedly kept that information hidden, even from Averill’s family. The family didn’t learn of the link to the problem until 11 years later – when her children were contacted by a Times reporter last week. At the same time, they learned they’re running out of time to file a claim with GM’s victim’s compensation fund. A company-set deadline of December 31 is looming on the horizon.

Continue reading Senator angry over latest General Motors ignition-switch revelations

Senator angry over latest General Motors ignition-switch revelations originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 11 Nov 2014 16:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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