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Old 02-09-14, 10:55 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by I8ABMR View Post
what is the deal with the Chinese products. The achilles heal of many products
Chinese products are nothing more than cheaper versions of regular products.
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Old 02-09-14, 11:14 AM   #32
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Default 2014 Ram Promaster recalled over stuck pedal fears

2014 Ram Promaster recalled over stuck pedal fears


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NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V032000
Component(s): VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL
Potential Number of Units Affected: 7,935
All Products Associated with this Recall expand

Manufacturer: Chrysler Group LLC
SUMMARY:
Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2014 Ram ProMaster vehicles manufactured July 1, 2013, through December 10, 2013. In the affected vehicles, if the accelerator pedal is pushed downward at a certain angle, the pedal may get stuck in the wide open throttle position due to interference with the accelerator pedal stopper.
CONSEQUENCE:
A stuck accelerator pedal can result in uncontrolled acceleration, increasing the risk of a crash.
REMEDY:
Chrysler will notify owners and dealers will replace the accelerator pedal stopper with a larger one, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in March 2014. Owners may contact Chrysler at 1-800-853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is P02. Note: These vehicles are equipped with a brake override system. In the event a pedal is trapped, pushing on the brake pedal will brake the vehicle and enable the driver to slow and stop and turn off the vehicle.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/09/2...l-stuck-pedal/
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Old 02-12-14, 07:06 AM   #33
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Bloomberg News

Toyota to Recall 1.9 Million Priuses to Update Software

By Craig Trudell and Yuki Hagiwara February 12, 2014

Toyota Recalls Majority of Prius Cars
The recall involves about 1.9 million vehicles produced globally since March 2009, spokesman Brian Lyons said. As of last year, worldwide deliveries of the Prius line of vehicles exceeded 3.6 million units since its release in 1997, accordingto the Toyota City, Japan-based company. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s largest automaker, will recall more than half of the Prius vehicles ever sold to fix a software glitch that could slow down or bring the car to a halt.

The recall involves about 1.9 million vehicles produced globally since March 2009, spokesman Brian Lyons said. As of last year, worldwide deliveries of the Prius line of vehicles exceeded 3.6 million units since its release in 1997, according to the Toyota City, Japan-based company.

While the top seller of hybrid cars is headed for record profit this fiscal year, driven by the weaker yen, Toyota continues to face recalls that have damaged its reputation as a quality leader. The company called back more vehicles than any automaker in the U.S. in each of the last two years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

VIDEO: Toyota Recalls 1.9M Prius Cars to Update Software
“My impression is Toyota is recalling more often, even with very minor flaws” with its vehicles, said Yuuki Sakurai, the Tokyo-based president of Fukoku Capital Management Inc. “Toyota learned its lesson from the big recalls in 2009 and 2010.”

A flaw with the software in the Prius’s hybrid system may cause some parts to overheat in certain driving situations such as accelerating from a stop, Lyons said. This can lead to the car entering a failsafe mode, where it can still be driven while at reduced power. In limited cases, the hybrid system could shut down and cause the vehicle to stop.

Toyota hasn’t received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the software problem, Lyons said.

Toyoda’s Efforts

President Akio Toyoda has spent years trying to restore his company’s quality standing after recalling more than 10 million vehicles for problems related to unintended acceleration in 2009 and 2010. The 56-year-old grandson of Toyota’s founder hasn’t announced any new car plants since January 2012 to avoid a repeat of over-expansion that he said was to blame for those recalls.

Toyota has been the auto industry’s hybrid leader, having built three generations of the main Prius model and adding derivatives such as the Alpha wagon, also known as the v, since 2011. The recall announced today involves only the third generation of the main Prius model, Lyons said.

Aside from the Prius, Toyota said it will recall about 260,000 other vehicles in the U.S. That campaign involves a separate issue with the 2012 and 2013 model years of the Toyota Tacoma pickup, the Lexus RX 350 sport utility vehicle and the 2012 Toyota RAV4 SUV.

Software Issues

A software issue with those models can cause their stability, anti-lock braking and traction controls to intermittently turn off, though the standard braking operation in those vehicles would remain fully functional, according to a statement on the company’s U.S. website.

The recall follows Toyota forecasting that profit for the year ending March 31 will surge to a record 1.9 trillion yen ($18.5 billion).

The company has set a target of selling an unprecedented 10.32 million vehicles in 2014 after leading General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG in global deliveries for a second straight year in 2013.

Worldwide deliveries for Toyota, including those of subsidiaries Hino Motors Ltd. and Daihatsu Motor Co., rose 2.4 percent to 9.98 million units last year. Volkswagen and its MAN SE and Scania AB (SCVB) heavy-truck units followed with 9.73 million sales, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based carmaker said last month. GM was third in the industry with 9.71 million.

Toyota isn’t alone in emphasizing quality. U.S. automakers including Detroit-based GM are cracking Japanese brands’ dominance in fielding cars with leading quality and reliability, Consumer Reports said last year. While models from Toyota and Honda Motor Co. held the top three spots in the magazine’s annual auto-reliability survey released in October, GM’s GMC and Buick posted gains and Volkswagen’s Audi luxury brand made the top five.

To contact the reporters on this story: Craig Trudell in Tokyo at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net; Yuki Hagiwara in Tokyo at yhagiwara1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

Priuses plural of Prius.
Would Lexus be Lexuses?
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Old 02-13-14, 10:13 AM   #34
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Default GM recalling 778,000 Cobalts and G5s, six deaths reported

GM recalling 778,000 Cobalts and G5s, six deaths reported


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General Motors has announced that it will be recalling 778,562 compact cars after six people were killed in accidents, partially due to the airbags' failure to deploy. An issue with the ignition switch is causing the airbag issues, as well as causing the engine and other components to shut off without warning. The recall covers the 2005 to 2007 model year Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5. (Note that the Cobalt pictured above is a 2009 model.)

According to a report from Automotive News, a number of factors can cause the ignition to switch out of the run position, including weights on the key ring, rough or bumpy roads or other "jarring" events. Any of these situations could lead to some vehicle components not functioning properly.

There have been five fatal front-impact crashes that took the lives of six people, although as a GM spokesman noted, all five of the crashes happened off road and at high speed. In each of these cases, though, the lack of airbags wasn't the only lethal factor - alcohol and failure to wear a seat belt also played a role. Outside of the fatal accidents, there have been 17 other crashes where airbags didn't deploy. It's unclear if any of these crashes were caused by the engine shutting off.

According to AN, GM is contacting dealers to report to their local dealership for a new ignition switch. Naturally, all work will be done free of charge (presumably, Pontiac owners will need to report to Chevy dealers). Customers that haven't or aren't able to report for service, meanwhile, are being asked to remove "non-essential items" from their key rings. 619,122 of the affected cars are registered in the US, while 153,310 are up north, in Canada. South of the border, 6,130 cars are affected.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/13/g...aths-reported/
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Old 02-14-14, 05:17 PM   #35
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Default NHTSA mandates mailing labels to curb recall notices looking like junk mail

NHTSA mandates mailing labels to curb recall notices looking like junk mail


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NHTSA Announces New Mandatory Label to Help Owners Instantly Identify Recall Mailings

Recall labels and new SaferCar App for Android are latest NHTSA efforts to raise recall awareness

WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that starting February 18, all manufacturers must use a distinctive label on required mailings that notify owners of recalled vehicles or equipment. The requirement was introduced to help owners instantly distinguish important recall notices arriving in their mailboxes from other assorted correspondence and avoid mistakenly discarding critical safety notices.

"Recalls only work if consumers are aware of them," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "This new label will allow consumers to quickly recognize recall notices mailed to their homes so they can act quickly to get their vehicles, child restraints, tires, or other motor vehicle equipment fixed."

The use of the new label is strictly limited to only the recalling manufacturers. This measure will help protect consumers from misleading sales and marketing materials that mimic, in their wording and presentation, legitimate safety recall alerts from manufacturers that can lead owners to purchase costly products and services that have no connection to a legitimate safety recall. As always, NHTSA will monitor for inappropriate materials and will work closely with state and other federal authorities, including the FTC, to address enforcement issues.

The new label on safety recall notices is one of many new tools designed to improve recall notification for consumers.

Today, NHTSA also launched an app for Android devices that will provide users free access to key safety information, including recalls and safety performance. The new Android SaferCar app, which joins the iOS app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch released last year, helps consumers find recall information and up-to-date vehicle safety information, search the agency's 5-Star Safety Ratings for vehicles by make and model, and subscribe to automatic notices about vehicle recalls, among other features.

The app makes it simple to submit complaints to NHTSA regarding possible safety problems with a particular vehicle. App users receive important news and information from NHTSA on tire and child seat recalls as well.

"NHTSA plays an important role in investigating potential safety defects, overseeing all safety recalls and warning the public of potential safety issues involving vehicles, car seats, tires and other equipment," said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. "By providing new and convenient tools for consumers, we hope to empower owners to take action to ensure their vehicles and loved ones are safe."

Below are additional tools and tips from the nation's top auto safety agency:

Register Your Cars, Tires and Car Seats: Receive NHTSA email notifications when the manufacturer files the recall with the federal government. There is no way to locate or notify individual owners of car seats or tires if the product is not registered with the manufacturer or NHTSA.
Get Alerts Sent Directly to Your Phone: NHTSA's Safercar mobile app is available for both Apple devices and Android devices, or RSS feed sends recall information directly and conveniently to Android and iPhone users. It provides information on crash test ratings and child seat installation locations.
Check for Open Recalls on Used Cars: Verify with the previous owner or dealer whether or not a used car has been fixed. NHTSA's premier website, www.safercar.gov, provides a general search tool to help consumers identify recalls that may affect their vehicle. Later this year, VIN look-up will be available on the site when a new NHTSA mandate goes into effect making it easier for consumers to access this information.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/14/n...ces-junk-mail/
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Old 02-17-14, 11:34 AM   #36
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Default Feds investigating 2010-11 Mazda CX-9 CUVs over braking issues

Feds investigating 2010-11 Mazda CX-9 CUVs over braking issues


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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating 62,000, 2010-2011 Mazda CX-9 models over brake problems. The government safety watchdog says it has received seven complaints of an observed loss of power braking power to stop the crossover, according to the The Detroit News.

The NHTSA complaints say that the problem causes a hard pedal, increased braking effort and reduced braking effectiveness. Some complaints allege that they hear a hissing noise during braking similar to the sound of air leaving the tires. No injuries or crashes have been reported.

"As always, we are fully cooperating with NHTSA on their investigation. We cannot comment further at this time," said Mazda spokesperson Tamara Mlynarczyk to The Detroit News.

Should it get to that point, this would not be the first recall for the CX-9. The 2010 CX-9 was recalled due to faulty seat heaters. It also recalled about 31,000, 2007-2009 trucks for a fault in the power driver's seat. NHTSA also investigated (but didn't recall) the 2008 CX-9 for loss of braking effectiveness after a high number of warranty claims affected approximately 37,000 crossovers. Mazda found that there was a possible manufacturing defect with the brake master cylinder that might have caused it.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/17/m...g-nhtsa-probe/
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Old 02-17-14, 06:49 PM   #37
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Default Porsche suspends 911 GT3 deliveries amidst fears of spontaneous combustion

Porsche suspends 911 GT3 deliveries amidst fears of spontaneous combustion


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Reports coming in from Europe indicate that no fewer than five 911 GT3 coupes have "spontaneously combusted" in the past few weeks, prompting Porsche to launch an investigation. In the meantime, they've reportedly ceased deliveries of the new GT3 while they try to determine what the problem is and work to rectify it.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/17/p...er-fire-fears/
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Old 02-18-14, 05:08 PM   #38
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Default Chrysler extends fuel tank warranties on LX cars, NHTSA ends probe

Chrysler extends fuel tank warranties on LX cars, NHTSA ends probe


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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ended its investigation of 153,817, 5.7-liter and 6.1-liter Hemi V8-powered 2006 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Magnum models after reports of stalling. Chrysler has responded by granting a lifetime warranty on the fuel tanks for these vehicles.

NHTSA received 299 reports of engines stalling while the models were stopped or driving at low speeds, and began an investigation. The government agency found that the control valve shutoff float in the V8s' 19-gallon fuel tank could malfunction if the fuel had too high of an ethanol content. In many cases, the valve would break in the open position, allowing the tank to be overfilled, which would then cause the cars to stall. However, there were no accidents reported, and the vehicles could be restarted immediately.

There will not be a recall on these vehicles because, "the condition represents a low risk to motor vehicle safety and is adequately addressed by Chrysler's extended warranty," NHTSA said to The Detroit News.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/18/c...htsa-ends-pro/
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Old 02-20-14, 08:40 AM   #39
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Toyota, Lexus Vehicles Recalled For Potential Braking Problems

Toyota is recalling more than a quarter million pickups, SUV's and luxury-brand Lexus crossovers because various safety systems, including stability control and anti-lock brakes, could become inoperative.

The 2012 and 2013 model year vehicles have an electrical component in the brake actuator, which adjusts fluid pressure in each wheel cylinder. This may experience increased resistance, according to documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That could lead to reduced vehicle control and an increased risk of a crash as various safety systems, including traction control, become inoperative.

Toyota officials could not immediately be reached to comment on Friday.

The recall is for 54,010 Lexus RX350 crossover vehicles and 100,052 of the Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks, both from model years 2012 and 2013, as well as 107,052 Toyota RAV4 SUVs from model year 2012, according to the NHTSA documents.

Not all of the recalled vehicles were sold in the United States, according to the NHTSA documents. Toyota and Lexus dealers will update the software for the skid control electronic unit free of charge, the documents say. Earlier this week, Toyota recalled all 1.9 million of its third-generation Prius cars sold worldwide due to a programming glitch in their hybrid system.

- Reuters

First published February 14th 2014, 11:08 am
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Old 02-21-14, 06:30 PM   #40
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Default GM knew about fatal Chevy ignition problem decade before recall

GM knew about fatal Chevy ignition problem decade before recall


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Well, this is not good for General Motors. Following a report last week that GM was recalling 778,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compacts over concerns that the ignition could switch out of the "run" position without warning, USA Today reports that the Detroit-based behemoth knew about the issue, which affected 2005 to 2007 Cobalts (the Cobalt shown above and in the gallery is from 2010) and 2007 Pontiac G5s, all the way back in 2004.

The information comes from a deposition in a civil lawsuit against GM, obtained by USA Today, which claims that a GM engineer experienced the issue while the then-new model was undergoing testing. The issue was "solved" when a technical service bulletin was issued in 2005, informing dealers to install a snap-on key cover on the cars of customers who complained about the issue. According to the Cobalt's program engineering manager, Gary Altman, the cover was an "improvement, it was not a fix to the issue."

The case where the depositions were made was from 2010, and involved Brooke Melton, a 29-year-old pediatric nurse in Georgia who was killed on her birthday. At the time, police claimed she was going too fast on a wet, rural road, although it later came out through the black box that her car's ignition had come out of the "run" position at least three seconds before the accident (the max amount of time a black box records before a wreck), disabling her airbags, power steering and anti-lock brakes. According to USA Today, police said Melton was "traveling too fast for the roadway conditions," although it's impossible to know if she'd have been in the wreck, which injured the occupants of another vehicle, had her 2005 Chevy not shut off. GM settled the Melton family's case, although the details remain confidential.

As we reported last week, GM knew of 22 crashes relating to the ignition issue and six deaths that came from "frontal-impact crashes." According to USA Today, GM wouldn't say whether Melton was one of the six known deaths, as she wasn't in a frontal-impact accident.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/21/g...em-decade-ago/
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Old 02-24-14, 01:58 PM   #41
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Default Nissan recalling 2012-14 Frontier pickups over fire risk

Nissan recalling 2012-14 Frontier pickups over fire risk


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Report Receipt Date: FEB 12, 2014
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14V052000
Component(s):
Potential Number of Units Affected: 13,535
Manufacturer: Nissan North America, Inc.

SUMMARY

Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) is recalling certain model year 2012 through 2014 Frontier vehicles manufactured from November 28, 2012, through December 17, 2013. In the affected vehicles, a circuit breaker may have been installed incorrectly causing the main wire harness connected to the circuit breaker to face outward, potentially contacting a metal bolt located on the A-pillar.

CONSEQUENCE

The bolt may wear through the wire harness covering, resulting in an electrical short which could cause a fire.

REMEDY

Nissan will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the circuit breaker orientation. If the circuit breaker orientation is incorrect, dealers will repair the vehicles free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in early March 2014. Owners may contact Nissan at 1-800-647-7261.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/24/n...all-fire-risk/
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Old 02-25-14, 03:33 PM   #42
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GM adds four models to recall, doubles deaths to 13
James R. Healey and Fred Meier, USA TODAY 6:10 p.m. EST February 25, 2014

General Motors has linked seven more deaths to its faulty ignition switch recall and added to the recall the other four GM cars using the same switch as the Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5 cars recalled Feb. 13.

GM on Tuesday increased the number of deaths it links to the problem from six to 13 and the number of crashes from 22 to 31 as it expanded the recall by more than 748,024 vehicles to more than 1.37 million in the U.S., plus an additional 253,519 vehicles in Canada and Mexico.

Models added to the recall are:

• 2003-07 Saturn Ion

• 2006-07 Chevrolet HHR

• 2006-07 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky

These are in addition to the recall in the U.S. of 619,122 Chevrolet Cobalts from the 2005 through 2007 model years and 2007 Pontiac G5s.

The ignition defect, says GM, allows it to move unexpectedly from "run" to "accessory" if jarred or if pulled by a heavy key chain. That shuts off the engine and may disable the front air bags. The loss of the air bag crash protection is central to the safety recall.

In announcing the recall expansion, GM acknowledged the lag of years between indications of a problem as early as 2004 in the Cobalt, as first reported in USA TODAY, and the current recalls.

"The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been," said GM North America President Alan Batey. "Today's GM is committed to doing business differently and better. We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward."

Batey said, "We are deeply sorry and we are working to address this issue as quickly as we can."

USA TODAY reported Monday that the additional four models had been identified by GM as early as 2005 in a dealer alert as having the same potential switch problem. Along with Cobalt and G5, they all use switches with the same part number, an automaker's definitive way to identify components, as the recalled cars.

GM initially declined to explain publicly why it believed these other vehicles were not also at risk and should not be recalled. GM said it based the initial recall of Cobalts and Pontiac G5s compacts on its investigation, but did not rule out the wider recall and was in talks with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


Similar complaints already had been made about these other cars. Two HHR owners, for example, had complained to NHTSA about air bags not deploying in front-impact crashes.

And a May 2009 report by TV station WTVD in Raleigh, N.C., quoted Loretta Barnes as saying her 2007 HHR "stalled on the train track" in Roanoke Rapids. She said she was able to quickly restart the vehicle but that it was a recurring problem, and "I'm scared."

She said she had taken her HHR to the dealership five times without the problem being solved. As a result of the TV report, Barnes said, GM gave her a deal on a new car.

Still unexplained by GM is an apparently safer switch, with a different part number, installed in all of these vehicles starting in 2008. None have been recalled.

GM won't say if the switch was revised to fix the stalling and air bag problem. Nor will it say if that later switch is the one dealers will use as the replacement for the recall repair on the older vehicles.

GM now is planning the acquisition of switches to do the repairs and a schedule for rolling them out.
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Old 02-25-14, 04:50 PM   #43
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Default 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport models with leather seats recalled over airbag fears

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport models with leather seats recalled over airbag fears


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Mitsubishi is recalling 733 of its 2013 Outlander Sports that were fitted with leather seat covers due to problems with the seat-mounted airbags. Apparently, the wiring for the airbags may have been routed incorrectly when the seat covers were installed at the port.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration bulletin, the issue only really crops up if owners adjust the height of the seats. Naturally, if the seat wiring is damaged, the airbag may not deploy in the event of a side impact.

The affected vehicles were all manufactured between July 20, 2012 and May 29, 2013. There have been no reported injuries or accidents due to this issue. Mitsubishi, meanwhile, will begin notifying owners, who will need to report to their local dealer for free inspections or repairs.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/25/2...r-seat-recall/
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Old 02-26-14, 11:47 AM   #44
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Default GM tells NHTSA pickup truck electronic glitch is 'inconsequential'

GM tells NHTSA pickup truck electronic glitch is 'inconsequential'


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The following information is submitted pursuant to the requirements of 49 CFR 573.6 as it applies to a determination by General Motors of a noncompliance involving certain 2014 model year (MY) Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra vehicles.

573.6(c)(1): Chevrolet and GMC Brands of General Motors Company

573.6(c)(2)(3)(4): This information is shown on the attached sheet.

573.6(c)(5): General Motors has decided that certain 2014 MY Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra vehicles fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 101, Controls and Displays, S5.3.1 e, and FMVSS 102, Transmission Shift Lever Sequence, Starter Interlock, and Transmission Braking Effect, S3.1.4.1. On some vehicles, the instrument cluster will reset if a customer uses the steering wheel controls to browse and select songs to play from an external device plugged into one of the USB ports. When the cluster resets, the analog gauges and identifications, the PRNDM indicator and the Cruise Control telltale will turn off momentarily. Instrument cluster telltales will be illuminated briefly without the presence of their underlying conditions.

573.6(c)(7): GM was notified on September 20, 2013, of an occurrence of this condition by a third-party conducting vehicle evaluations on behalf of General Motors. Upon notification of the incident, the responsible GM Engineering team requested information to understand the issue.

On October 10, 2013, the root cause was determined to be the instrument cluster software, which causes the instrument cluster to reset if a buffer that stores the embedded song titles of the external media overflows due to the song titles being too long. Development of a software solution was immediately started.

On October 17, 2013, GMNA Product Investigations began to investigate the issue as a potential noncompliance.

The software solution to correct the condition in production as well as to be used for a potential field remedy completed validation on October 22, 2013.

The issue was presented to the Field Performance Evaluation Review Committee and on October 24, 2013, the Executive Field Action Decision Committee decided that the vehicles were not in compliance with the requirements of FMVSS 101 & 102.

Vehicles at the two involved assembly plants were placed on a shipping hold pending their correction with the revised software. Instrument clusters with the revised software were implemented in production on October 25, 2013 and October 28, 2013.

573.6(c)(8): General Motors intends to submit to the agency a petition for an exemption from the notice and remedy provisions of the Safety Act because this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.

573.6(c)(10): GM does not at this time plan to make a statement to the media concerning the subject matter of this compliance action or submit any notification letters to owners or dealers. If the petition is not granted, General Motors will conduct a field action and provide the dealer bulletin and owner letter when available.
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/26/g...-spark-recall/
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Old 02-27-14, 03:45 PM   #45
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Default GM facing federal investigation into timeliness of deadly ignition recall

GM facing federal investigation into timeliness of deadly ignition recall


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Thirteen motorists are dead, and federal safety regulators want to know why.

On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it would investigate why General Motors delayed a recall of more than 1.37 million vehicles when it knew a defect existed for as long as a decade. In the interim, faulty ignition switches that prevented airbag deployment have been linked to 13 fatalities and caused 31 known crashes.

NHTSA said it would investigate the timeliness of GM's recall, and the Detroit-based automaker could face a financial penalty if investigators find they stalled in fixing a deadly safety issue. Automotive safety advocates say NHTSA could have also investigated sooner.

"NHTSA's enforcement activities have been completely lax, and they let it slide and people died," said Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies. "And GM's shown a willingness to obfuscate what was really happening."
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Documents show that GM was aware of the problem, in which the ignition switches can inadvertently move to the "off" position under pressure from heavy keychains, since 2004. NHTSA had queried the Detroit-based automaker about it as early as 2007.

But GM didn't recall any vehicles because of the problem until last month, when it recalled 619,122 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models. At that time, the company said it knew of six deaths attributed to the problem. It expanded that campaign earlier this week when it recalled 748,000 more cars, including models of the Saturn Ion, Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.

In a written statement issued Tuesday, GM president of North America Alan Batey (above) apologized for the belated response.

"The chronology shows that the process employed to examine this phenomenon was not as robust as it should have been," he said. "Today's GM is committed to doing business differently and better. We will take an unflinching look at what happened and apply lessons learned here to improve going forward."

General Motors could face a financial penalty of up to $35 million if NHTSA's investigation reveals it did not recall the vehicles in a timely manner. If the investigation results in the maximum fine, that would be a record. Back in December 2012, Toyota and the US government agreed to a record $17.35M fine for its own recall delays.
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It's unclear whether the recalls would have emerged without a court case settled in 2013 between GM and the family of Brooke Melton, a Georgia nurse who was killed in an accident in March 2010 when her 2005 Chevy Cobalt lost power. While working on the case, an attorney who represented the Melton family learned one of GM's engineers had experienced the problem during a test drive in 2004 before the vehicle was even on sale.

"I think this whole recall comes from that attorney," Kane said. "If it wasn't for his ability to get GM on the record, I don't think this recall happens. Now you have everybody looking at it, and congressmen calling for investigations. ... So this story is far from over, and the longer and harder we look at it, I think we'll have consumers looking at incidents that were not adequately explained before."

The Detroit News reported that GM is not counting Melton's death as part of its total related to the problem.

Industry analysts say they expect the recall news to put a dent, albeit a temporary one, into GM's sales figures.

"Safety is one of the most important attributes a car shopper looks for when considering and purchasing a vehicle," said Tony Lim, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. "As GM's current customers and shoppers become aware of the recall, we expect perceptions of safety to be impacted slightly across the lineup."
http://www.autoblog.com/2014/02/27/g...on-timeliness/
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