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31 Oct 2014

Ford recalling 205k Edge and Lincoln MKX units for possible corrosion

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2007 Ford Edge

After the horrible weather last winter, it’s hard to look forward for the season to return this year. For those readers in much of the country, the snow is going to be flying soon, and with it comes salt on the roads. That means Ford’s regional recall for the 2007-2008 Edge and Lincoln MKX arrives at the perfect time because they are at risk for corrosion.

The campaign covers 204,448 examples of the models in 21 states, plus the District of Columbia and some provinces of Canada. In total there are 186,024 vehicles in need of repair in the US and 18,424 in Canada.

According to Ford, it’s possible for the area, “under the reinforcement brackets where the fuel tank is mounted” to corrode. If this happens, there might be a gas smell in the vehicle or even a fuel leak could develop. In fact, the automaker reports that one fire could be related to the problem but no injuries or accidents are reported.

To fix the issue, dealers will inspect the fuel tank for corrosion and will either replace or repair it, if necessary. Scroll down for the company’s full announcement of the recall, including the complete list of affected states and provinces.

Continue reading Ford recalling 205k Edge and Lincoln MKX units for possible corrosion

Ford recalling 205k Edge and Lincoln MKX units for possible corrosion originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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31 Oct 2014

Obama administration eyeing new NHTSA boss after safety lapses

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General Motors Recall Congress

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t had much to celebrate this year. The botched handling of major recall campaigns from General Motors and for faulty Takata airbag inflators haven’t put the agency in the best light. Also, its new VIN lookup for safety campaigns, which should have been a major step forward, crashed the first time it was really needed. Clearly, something must be done, and it appears that the government’s solution might be an overhaul of the bureau, starting at the top.

According to insiders speaking to Reuters, acting NHTSA boss David Friedman (pictured above) is unlikely to be nominated to take the job long term. Furthermore, the feds are already searching for his replacement, and the new director is expected to be announced soon. The changes might go even deeper, though. According to Reuters, both Congress and the Department of Transportation, which oversees NHTSA, are conducting their own inquiries into the agency.

It’s certainly not Friedman’s first visit to Capitol Hill this year. He already testified in front of the Senate, and a report from the House Energy and Commerce committee claimed that NHTSA’s incompetence allowed GM’s problem with ignition switches to be undetected for so long. It hasn’t been an easy tenure at the organization for Friedman. He only started working at the safety watchdog in May of 2013, and took over running things around the beginning of the year when David Strickland stepped down.

While it could be argued that NHTSA is doing an incompetent job this year, understaffing might also play a roll. The Office of Defects Investigation that actually researches and reports recalls has just 51 people who keep an eye on safety and only $10 million of NHTSA’s budget. With over 544 recalls so far this year, it may keep them spread a bit too thin.

Obama administration eyeing new NHTSA boss after safety lapses originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Oct 2014

Chinese protesting VW recall fix nationwide

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Wen Jiabao Visits Volkswagen Factory

This is unquestionably the year of the recall in the United States with an estimated 544 campaigns so far (and counting) that cover around 52 million cars. The repairs are almost starting to seem normal at this point, but apparently the same can’t be said for China. That country’s buyers are protesting Volkswagen for its handling of one recent safety action.

The issue concerns VW’s 1.1-million-vehicle recall in China and North America to fix the rear suspensions on some models of the Beetle, Jetta and the Sagitar. If the rear suspension is damaged in an accident, some parts could subsequently shatter while driving. To rectify the problem, the company is adding a part that makes a sound signaling if an inspection is required. Chinese buyers also get a 10-year warranty on rear-suspension repairs related to the campaign, according to Bloomberg.

The recall affects around 581,000 vehicles in China, which seems moderate by current US standards, but consumers are very displeased with how the campaign is going. They believe that VW is downplaying the severity of the problem. According to Bloomberg, there were recently protests at dealers in Shanghai and Shenzhen with people holding up banners and handing out leaflets against the brand.

The protesters have urged even more demonstrations around the country in the coming weeks, and some have requested that VW either replace the entire rear suspension or refund buyers. According to Bloomberg, at least 340 Sagitar owners have employed a Beijing law firm to sue the automaker. They claim that some vehicles have had rear suspension problems without being involved in an accident and that the company’s handling of the campaign has been unsatisfactory.

Chinese protesting VW recall fix nationwide originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 08:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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30 Oct 2014

FCA recalling 33k vans and SUVs for TPMS problems in two campaigns

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Ram ProMaster

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is issuing two, separate recalls covering a total of 33,443 examples in the US of the 2014 Ram ProMaster, 2014 Jeep Wrangler, 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan and 2014 Chrysler Town & Country because of potential problems with the tire pressure monitoring system in the vehicles.

The first campaign is for 23,053 units of the 2014 Ram ProMaster. It’s possible for the TPMS to not recognize the location of the data coming from the sensors in the wheels. If this happens, then the low tire pressure warning light comes on and potentially gives the driver a false positive. If the warning isn’t cleared, and drivers keep going, they might not be aware of another tire that actually has low pressure. This fix for this is a software update.

The second recall covers 10,390 examples of the 2014 Wrangler, Grand Caravan and Town & Country. According to FCA, it’s possible that a test mode for the TPMS is still on since being shipped from the supplier. On affected vehicles, it could cause inaccurate pressure readings. The repair involves disabling that mode on the TPMS module.

Neither issue is responsible for known injuries or accidents, and affected customers should be advised by mail in November. Scroll down to read FCA’s statement about both recalls and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report for the ProMaster campaign. The agency has not yet published a similar announcement for the other repair.

Continue reading FCA recalling 33k vans and SUVs for TPMS problems in two campaigns

FCA recalling 33k vans and SUVs for TPMS problems in two campaigns originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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29 Oct 2014

Why basing car recalls on geography is stupid

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Air Bag Recall

Geographic or regional recalls – the practice of recalling vehicles based on their geographic location – may seem to make sense. After all, why recall a corrosion-prone spare tire carrier (as Toyota did in 2010 and 2012) in areas where rust isn’t a major factor, or humidity-prone airbags (as per the Takata case) in dry climates? But the latest analysis suggests that the practice could be dangerously flawed.

Speaking with safety experts and congressional advocates, TheDetroitBureau.com notes that the Takata airbag issue does not necessarily only affect vehicles located in states with high levels of humidity on which the massive recall campaign has focused. The problem in this case revolves around is the essential mobility of automobiles. For one thing, owners of vehicles registered in northern states (like “snowbirds” based in the northeast but spending the winter in Florida) that have not been the focus of the recall may spend extended periods of time in southern states that are, but would be left outside the geographic region addressed by the recall. For another, used vehicles are often shifted from one part of the country to another, potentially transcending such regional lines.

While the high-profile case of Hien Tran – who was apparently killed by shrapnel from the faulty airbag in her Honda Accord in Orlando, FL – may make the case for regional recalls, the three other known fatalities resulting from the problematic airbags were registered in Oklahoma, Virginia and California. Those are all states which aren’t particularly humid and were thus left outside the scope of the regional recall.

Issues like these have prompted lawmakers including Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthan (D-CT) to call for new safety regulations that would eliminate the practice of geographic recalls. “To issue a selective geographic recall is absolutely irresponsible and reprehensible when people living in other states may be equally at risk,” Sen. Blumenthal said in an interview with the Bureau.

For our part, we can definitely see the point in limiting the practice of regional recalls. But in the case of the Takata debacle, where automakers lack the spare parts to enact the recall on millions of vehicles across the country at once, perhaps the best approach would be to start in those states with high levels of humidity and gradually work outwards to encompass all vehicles fitted with the troublesome equipment, regardless of where they’re registered.

Why basing car recalls on geography is stupid originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 09:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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29 Oct 2014

NHTSA probing Ram recall pace, communication

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Ram 1500

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that it’s looking into Chrysler Group’s handling of a pair of recalls affecting roughly one million Ram pickup trucks. Reuters is reporting that the regulatory agency is focusing on the availability (or lack thereof) of parts and “poor communications” from the automaker in its investigation.

Customers have been advised in accordance with the regulations governing recalls,” Chrysler spokesman Eric Mayne told Reuters via email. “We are continually replenishing our supply of replacement parts. Chrysler Group regrets any inconvenience our customers may have experienced.”

NHTSA disagrees, arguing that the recalls, which affect 972,000 trucks from 2003 to 2012, are being delayed by the lack of parts.

“We have concerns with the administration and execution of these safety recalls and accordingly have opened an investigation to collect further information from Chrysler about the details of administration and execution of these campaigns and the logic that supports the strategies used,” NHTSA wrote in a letter to Chrysler earlier this month, Reuters reports.

Over 1,000 consumers complained to NHTSA, prompting the probe, according to documents acquired by Reuters. Customers claimed that they attempted to have the recall work performed after Chrysler announced repairs would begin in January, only to be told by dealers it could take months for parts to become available.

NHTSA probing Ram recall pace, communication originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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29 Oct 2014

Chrysler recalling 382k Ram HD diesel pickups, 184k SUVs

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2014 Ram HD

Between GM’s ignition switches and Takata’s airbags, it’s been a big year for recalls, but they keep rolling in. The latest comes from Chrysler, which has announced a pair of recalls for certain heavy-duty pickups and SUVs.

The first issue revolves around the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine available in the 2010-2014 Ram HD trucks, including 2500 and 3500 series pickups as well as 4500 and 5500 series chassis cabs. In the affected units, “a terminal connector near the fuel heater may be subject to friction-induced corrosion,” according to the first of the two announcements from Chrysler below.

The problem could result in overheating and fuel leakage. Chrysler launched its investigation following cases of overheating, none of which actually started a fire, much less an injury or accident. As a precautionary measure, however, Chrysler is instructing service technicians to replace the terminals on an estimated 381,876 Ram units around the world – the vast majority of those (314,704) registered in the US, another 59,432 in Canada, 1,803 in Mexico and 5,937 abroad.

The second recall involves the 2014 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee. In the affected units, Chrysler has found that a debris cover can disrupt a circuit board’s functioning and disable the vehicle’s stability control system. Chrysler reports that it isn’t aware of any injuries or accidents resulting from this issue, either, but to fix the problem, Chrysler technicians need only upgrade the software. This recall affects 184,186 units globally – 132,223 in the US, 8,871 in Canada, 4,742 in Mexico and a further 38,350 abroad.

Continue reading Chrysler recalling 382k Ram HD diesel pickups, 184k SUVs

Chrysler recalling 382k Ram HD diesel pickups, 184k SUVs originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:17:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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25 Oct 2014

Weekly Recap: Tesla’s sales ban fortified in Michigan as franchise laws draw fire

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2013 Tesla Model S

“Tesla’s quest to own its stores has brought to light issues that have long faced the industry.” – Adam Jones

Tesla’s fight to challenge dealer franchise laws moved to the home state of the American auto industry this week, as the governor of Michigan signed a controversial bill that excludes Tesla from selling its electric cars directly to consumers.

Experts agree it was probably already illegal for Tesla to sell cars in Michigan, as the state’s franchise laws require that cars be sold through dealerships. But, the legislation closed a gap in the law that Tesla might have been able to exploit.

Ironically, the bill sailed through both houses of the state legislature with little fanfare this year, as voters and officials have been preoccupied with midterm elections. It’s not even a new law: just an amendment to an existing rule that touches on a number of issues, including transaction fees charged by dealers to consumers during the sale process.

The controversy seemingly exploded overnight, as a last-minute change in the language of the bill – which appeared aimed at Tesla – strengthened Michigan’s franchise laws. It wasn’t until the bill was already on the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder that most of the public was even aware of it, or of the implications of the 11th hour changes.

Not surprisingly, Tesla was peeved.

Continue reading Weekly Recap: Tesla’s sales ban fortified in Michigan as franchise laws draw fire

Weekly Recap: Tesla’s sales ban fortified in Michigan as franchise laws draw fire originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24 Oct 2014

Audi recalls 850,000 A4 models globally for airbags that won’t deploy

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2013 Audi A4

Audi has announced that it will be recalling 850,000 A4 sedans, wagons and Allroad models across the globe due to a software problem that could prevent the front airbags from deploying. All 850,000 vehicles were built after 2012.

Audi has already adjusted production of new A4s to eliminate the software glitch. Meanwhile, the German manufacturer was quick to emphasize that Takata did not manufacture the affected airbags.

According to Reuters, 250,000 of the affected A4s were built for the Chinese market, while another 150,000 were sold in Germany. Audi didn’t provide a breakdown beyond those two countries, although it’d be a surprise if there weren’t at least some affected airbags in the US market.

We’re still waiting on official word of the recall from Audi or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As soon as that’s available, we’ll be sure to update this post.

Audi recalls 850,000 A4 models globally for airbags that won’t deploy originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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24 Oct 2014

Honda execs take ‘quality-related’ pay cut after Fit Hybrid’s 5th recall

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2015 Honda Fit Hybrid

Generally, the best policy in life is to admit when you’re wrong and just accept the consequences. However, that attitude generally seems to be a bit less common in the world of business – at least without some government or legal prodding. So, it’s especially surprising to learn that top Honda executives in Japan are taking a pay cut for the next three months following the fifth recall of the Fit Hybrid (pictured above) in the last 12 months.

According to Reuters, Chief Executive Takanobu Ito is taking a 20-percent pay cut to make amends for the quality issues. Also, 12 other high-ranking executives are taking 10 percent drops in their salaries. In addition to those temporary changes, Honda is creating a new position in charge of monitoring vehicle quality.

The latest recall fixes “noise-related defects,” according to Reuters, on both the hybrid and naturally aspirated versions of the Fit, both variants of the Vezel (the sibling to the future HR-V in the US) and the N-WGN. There have also been three recalls for problems with the hybrid’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. None of them have caused reported injuries or deaths, and these issues haven’t affected US models.

Still, the quality concerns come at a rough time for Honda globally. While it tackles these problems in Japan, over five million vehicles in the US could potentially still need repairs due to faulty airbag inflators from Takata.

Honda execs take ‘quality-related’ pay cut after Fit Hybrid’s 5th recall originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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