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Archive for the ‘Quality and Reliability’ Category

Lexus Lifts the Covers on Updates RX Line in Bid to Retain CUV Dominance

More aggressive styling, more features – but there also are plenty of new competitors.

by on May.30, 2019

Lexus VP Lisa Materazzo shows off the 2020 RX 350 F Sport during a CA event Wednesday.

For countless American family buyers, the Lexus RX has served as the luxurious alternative to a minivan. Almost from the moment it was introduced, 22 years ago, it has dominated the high-line midsize crossover market, and that’s a position Lexus is determined to retain as what was once a small niche has become one of the U.S. luxury market’s largest segments.

Four years after launching the fourth-generation RX, Lexus is giving the CUV a significant enough “refresh” to stage a roll-out event for journalists in both the U.S. and China on Wednesday night. What they got to see was a vehicle with more distinctive styling, more high-tech features and more advanced safety gear as a standard feature – but with the 2020 Lexus RX facing significantly more competition than ever before, the question is whether it can maintain its traditional momentum.

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Part of the challenge is that Lexus has, since it first launched in 1989, been a Baby Boomer brand, and the RX line is one of the examples of that, said Rebecca Lindland, an automotive analyst with RebeccaDrives. “The RX,” she added. “is no longer aspirational” for the subsequent generations “just starting their families.”

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Tesla Updating Software After Latest Battery Fire

Two recent incidents raise new concerns about EV safety.

by on May.16, 2019

A security camera caught images of a Tesla spontaneously catching fire in a Hong Kong garage.

Responding to the latest in a series of fires involving its electric vehicles’ battery packs, Tesla will updated its digital control software.

The move comes in the wake of a pair of fires in China, a critical market for the manufacturer, both involving parked vehicles. Since the original Tesla Model S was introduced, the company’s products have been involved in more than a dozen vehicle fires.

Electrifying News!

“As we continue our investigation of the root cause, out of an abundance of caution, we are revising charge and thermal management settings on Model S and Model X vehicles via an over-the-air software update that will begin rolling out today, to help further protect the battery and improve battery longevity.” Tesla said in a statement released on Wednesday.

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Tesla Cars Now Can Diagnose Problems, Even Pre-Order Parts

EV maker adds still more OTA update functionality.

by on May.08, 2019

Tesla is now making it possible for its vehicles to self-diagnose some problems with its vehicles, eliminating some maintenance headaches before they happen.

It’s the sort of headache every motorist dreads: a problem that crops up unexpectedly, leaving them stranded on the side of the road.

But Tesla thinks it may be able to prevent at least some of those sudden breakdowns from occurring by introducing a new feature to its vehicles that not only can diagnose problems, but also, in some cases, send an alert to a the Tesla Service Center to pre-order the necessary repair parts.

Product News!

“Our cars can keep tabs on certain components to let you know if they need replacing and order parts ahead of you next service visit,” the company said this week. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Recalling 320K Dodge Darts

Most of the affected vehicles located in the U.S.

by on Apr.19, 2019

Fiat Chrysler killed the Dodge Dart as part of its realignment of its product portfolio.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 320,000 Dodge Dart compact cars in North America that could roll away due to defective shift-cable bushings.

An FCA US investigation discovered certain cars are equipped with a cable bushing that may degrade after prolonged exposure to high ambient heat and humidity. Should degradation occur, it may prohibit the driver from shifting gears.

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It may also allow the shift cable to detach from the transmission, which permits the car to roll away. The Italian-American automaker said the recall covers 2013 through 2016 model year automatic transmission Dart cars. (more…)

Italy’s Alcantara Expands to Meet Material Demands

Plant expansion allows for company growth.

by on Apr.08, 2019

CEO Andrea Borgano said the company's 300-million euro expansion will allow the company to meet increased demand.

With demand for its unique products soaring, Alcantara has completed the first phase of its 300-million euro expansion of its production facilities in Nera Montoro, Italy.

“The startup of these new facilities is an important, symbolic moment for us,” said Andrea Borgano, Alcantara CEO.

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“It is confirmation of our intention to grow, the positioning of the brand accomplished over the years, and our ability to generate strong growth in demand for Alcantara. Since the investment will reduce energy consumption and environmental impact, Alcantara also is confirming its strong and serious commitment to sustainability.” (more…)

Subaru Readying to Recall 2.3 Million Vehicles

Could be automaker's largest recall ever not including Takata.

by on Mar.01, 2019

Subaru halted production in Japan in January for two weeks due to a potentially faulty component, and is now facing recall of 2.3 million vehicles.

Just a little more than a month after Subaru Corp. shut down its plants in Japan due to quality issues, the automaker is expected to recall about 2.3 million vehicles globally due to a brake light problem.

Excluding the Takata recall, it would mark the maker’s largest recall ever. The company has been battling quality problems for the past few years as its sales have grown substantially. The two-week shutdown in January came as a result of a defective power-steering component.

The Last Word!

The part was used in Forester, Impreza and Crosstrek models. Many of those were shipped to the U.S. to be completed at the company’s plant in Indiana. (more…)

The Car Book Offers Up its Best Best for 2019

Toyota leads again in number of top choices.

by on Feb.22, 2019

The Kia Soul was named a Best Bet by The Car Book 2019, an honor it held last year too.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. While that phrase is widely interpreted to mean that change is constant, the auto industry is a different animal sometimes and the latest edition of The Car Book shows why.

The book, which is now in its 39thyear, provides today’s car buyer with our unique crash test ratings, comparative complaint ratings, and all of the information needed to make a smart, safe and informed vehicle purchase.

Beyond the Headlines!

Jack Gillis and the Center of Automotive Safety team up to produce the book, which has been helping buyers sort through those thousands of different vehicles and equipment levels to determine the best vehicle for a buyer in any given year. (more…)

Honda Recalls 106K Ridgeline Trucks

Faulty fuel lines may crack and cause a fire.

by on Feb.20, 2019

Honda recalled more than 106,000 Ridgelines due to a fuel pump problem.

Owners of dirty Honda Ridgelines are being told to not wash their trucks as part of a recall of more than 100,000 2017-2019 model year trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall for 106,683 of the vehicles because they could catch fire after being washed. The acid from car wash soaps could cause the line in the fuel pump feed to crack.

Recall News!

If fuel leaks from the line, that significantly increases the odds the truck will catch fire. The problem was uncovered in January, but the recall won’t begin until March 7. (more…)

Ford Recalling 1.48M F-150 Pickups Due to Transmission Issue

Sometimes the transmission will downshift to first gear unexpectedly.

by on Feb.13, 2019

Ford is recalling 1.48 million F-150 trucks from model years 2011–13 due to a transmission downshift problem.

Ford Motor Co is recalling 1.48 million F-150 pickup trucks because of a transmission issue that could, in certain circumstances, lead to a crash.

The company said that select 2011–13 model year trucks with six-speed automatic transmissions could downshift into first gear without warning. This downshift could cause the axle to lock up, causing the truck to skid and the driver to lose control.

Breaking News!

As of now, there have been five accidents and one injury – whiplash – reported tied to the problem. The recall covers 1.26 million trucks in the U.S. The rest are in Canada. Affected 2011-13 F-150 vehicles were built at Dearborn Assembly Plant, April 28, 2010 to Oct. 28, 2013, and Kansas City Assembly Plant, May 18, 2010 to Nov. 18, 2013. (more…)

Toyota, Lexus May Still Rule, But Japanese No Longer Dominate Vehicle Reliability

Chevy delivers a surprise in J.D. Power 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study.

by on Feb.13, 2019

The Prius is one of the vehicles that helped Toyota lead the latest J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study.

Toyota and its luxury arm Lexus captured the top spots among mainstream and premium brands in the latest J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, but the 2019 VDS also delivered more than a few surprises when it comes to how three-year-old vehicles are holding up.

The study placed Lexus at the top of the charts, followed by Porsche and then Toyota, but Chevrolet nabbed the fourth spot, a significant turnaround for a brand struggling to convince potential buyers it has overcome the quality and reliability issues of the past.

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The new Power VDS shows that Japanese automakers no longer have a lock on vehicle dependability. Tellingly, only Toyota and Lexus landed in the top 10 this year, while the list also included two American brands, four from Germany and both of the South Korean carmakers operating in the U.S.: Hyundai and Kia. (more…)