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Toyota Recalls 1.6 Mil Vehicles With Takata Airbags a Second Time

Affected vehicles may still be unsafe.

by on Nov.25, 2015

The latest recall covers, among its 22 models, an older version of the Toyota Corolla.

Concluding the vehicles may still be unsafe, Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 1.6 million vehicles equipped with Takata airbags that had been involved in an earlier recall.

The move echoes what happened at Nissan Motor Co. where a passenger was injured when a Takata airbag deployed improperly in a crash. That vehicle had also been involved in an earlier recall. There have been no reports of injuries involving the Toyota vehicles.

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The new Toyota recall covers 22 different models, including the popular Corolla, sold in Japan, as well as several European markets. No vehicles in the U.S. are involved in the new service action, though Takata airbags have so far led to the recall of nearly 20 million vehicles sold in the States.


Kia Recalling 260,000 Late-Model Soul Crossovers

Steering system can fail unexpectedly, maker tells NHTSA.

by on Nov.16, 2015

The Kia Sould is one of the Korean automaker's most popular product lines.

Kia has announced the latest in a string of major recalls plaguing the auto industry this year, this one impacting nearly 260,000 late-model Soul crossovers.

The maker says that a faulty steering gear assembly could cause the vehicle’s steering system to fail, the steering wheel itself even coming lose.

The Full Story!

It’s just the latest in a string of six- and seven-figure recalls that are pushing the industry close to a new record, potentially topping the all-time high 64 million vehicles affected by safety-related issues n 2015.


Flatlining: What Happened to the Spare Tire?

Alternatives like run-flats and inflator kits are costly and can still leave a motorist stranded.

by on Nov.12, 2015

Flat tires are still a common occurence.

Out of sight, out of mind?

Spare tires used to be such an important part of a vehicle that they were often incorporated in the basic shape of many models from the so-called golden era of design. For years, the Lincoln Continental’s trunk bore the distinctive, rounded shape of a spare – even when the fifth tire was moved to a less prominent storage location.

While a few classic SUVs, like the Jeep Wrangler, still give their spares prominent placement, those back-up tires are now more likely to be tucked under the trunk’s load floor – that is, if you have a spare at all. In many vehicles, from the sporty Chevrolet Camaro to the mainstream Ford Fusion, spares have been left out entirely.

We Won't Leave You Flat!

By various estimates, somewhere between a third and a half of the new vehicles sold in the U.S. this year will come sans spare. Instead, manufacturers are opting for alternatives like tire inflator kits or run-flat tires, the latter designed to keep running for as much as 50 miles even if they lose pressure.


Takata Loses $46 Mil as Toyota Calls it Quits

Future uncertain for supplier linked to fatal airbag issue.

by on Nov.06, 2015

Toyota's CEO Akio Toyoda cuts the cord and sets Takata even further adrift.

Things appear to be getting worse by the day for embattled Japanese supplier Takata Corp., the company that produced faulty airbag inflators linked to at least eight deaths and 98 injuries.

The company began the week by accepting a consent agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that included a $70 million fine. It has since watched its stock go into a tailspin as a steady stream of customers has headed for the door.

The Last Word!

Now, Toyota has joined the exodus just as Takata announces it lose 5.6 billion yen, or $45.8 million for the first half of its fiscal year – with analysts predicting the company’s financial situation is likely only to grow worse.


Takata Hit with $70 Mil Fine – But Could Face Another $130 Mil

Honda to stop using Takata airbags.

by on Nov.03, 2015

A Takata airbag after a crash.

(This story has been updated to reflect Honda’s decision to stop using Takata airbags.)

Even as the supplier faces the prospect of new recalls, Takata could be in for a fine of as much as $200 million if it doesn’t follow up on demands laid out in a consent decree with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Takata, whose faulty airbag inflators have been blamed for at least eight deaths and 98 injuries, will face an immediate $70 million in penalties. It will then be watched by an independent monitor and, if it doesn’t live up to several conditions – including a speed-up in its recall process – it could face another $130 million in deferred penalties.

Safety News!

The cost of the settlement could be dwarfed by legal fees and penalties from an ongoing Justice Department criminal investigation. Meanwhile, Honda, Takata’s largest customer, said Tuesday it is severing ties with the supplier.


Mazda Recalling Over 1 Mil US Cars for Ignition Switch Defect

U.S. may be heading for another year of record recalls.

by on Oct.23, 2015

The Mazda MPV is one of the many older models targeted by the ignition switch recall.

Mazda has become the latest automaker to order a recall for ignition switch problems, the Japanese automaker announcing a callback for 1.2 million vehicles sold in the United States during the 1990s.

The size of the recall is about five times as large as the ignition switch recall General Motors announced in early 2014, GM’s defect now linked to more than 100 deaths. But where the GM problem resulted in switches that might inadvertently turn off, the Mazda switches could unexpectedly overheat and catch fire.

On Top of the News!

Mazda will recall a total of 4.9 million vehicles equipped with the defective switches worldwide, about a quarter of them sold in the United States. The announcement marks just the latest in a series of seven-figure industry recalls announced this week.


To Connect or Not to Connect? Federal Regulators Disagree Over New Car Tech

Connected-car systems could save lives – but might also open motorists up to privacy problems.

by on Oct.23, 2015

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is pushing for more V2V and V2I based safety technologies on U.S. roadways in the near future.

Maybe they need a better connection. Several senior government regulators have taken what appears to be opposing positions on the need to mandate connected-car technology in the next few years.

While the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week said he favors the use of the technology, believing it could reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities, a senior official with the Federal Trade Commission warned Congress this week that rushing connected cars to market could compromise privacy.

Your Inside Source!

Connected-car rules proposed by the Department of Transportation falls short of “providing any substantive protections for consumer data,” warned Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection. (more…)

Kia Just Latest to Face Rollaway Problems

Korean maker recalls 377,000 Sorento CUVs because of transmission problem.

by on Oct.16, 2015

The recall covers 2011-2013 Kia Sorentos.

Kia has announced a recall covering nearly 400,000 late model Sorento crossover vehicles because the vehicles can unexpectedly pop out of the “Park” position and roll away.

The move comes in the wake of numerous complaints about the problem and the report of at least three injuries, including one in which a 10-year-old was hospitalized for three weeks as a result of a rollaway Sorento.

Adding Perspective!

Kia is just the latest in a long list of manufacturers who have faced rollaway problems, most due to defective transmissions that can unexpectedly jump out of Park – though Ford recently recalled nearly 500,000 vehicles at risk of rolling away because their engines wouldn’t shut off.


Hyundai Recalling Nearly 500,000 Sonatas Due to Potential Engine Failures

A second recall covers smaller Accent models.

by on Sep.25, 2015

The Sonata's American-made engine is being blamed for the recall of 470,000 sedans.

Hyundai is recalling nearly 500,000 Sonata sedans because a manufacturing problem could cause their engines to fail.

Hyundai has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that engines produced at its powertrain plant in Alabama may not have been machined properly. As a result, metal debris can block the flow of oil to the connecting rod bearings. That could cause the engines to stall and, in turn, lead to a crash.

In the Know!

The problem affects both 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter engines used in 470,000 midsize Sonata sedans sold during the 2011 and 2012 model-years. Those vehicles were all assembled by Hyundai in the United States.


VW Had Previous Run-In With EPA Over “Defeat Device”

Maker has four-decade history of cheating.

by on Sep.23, 2015

Looking a little tarnished?

Special Report by Richard Gardella and Mike Brunker

Volkswagen has had a previous run-in with U.S. authorities for selling vehicles that used so-called “defeat devices” to disable pollution-control systems in four models of its vehicles produced in 1973.

News reports archived by the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety show the German automaker, then known as Volkswagenwerk AG, and its American subsidiary, Volkswagen of America, paid a $120,000 fine in March 1974 to settle a complaint filed by the Environmental Protection Agency over the use of so-called “defeat devices” that disabled certain pollution-control systems. The complaint said the use of the devices violated the U.S. Clean Air Act.

The Journal of Record!

According to a March 13, 1974, account (pdf) published in the Wall Street Journal, the complaint stated that VW didn’t report to U.S. regulators that it had included temperature-sensing devices on certain models of “bus-like panel trucks, station wagons, combination vehicles and campmobiles” that disabled systems that controlled emissions and the flow of fuel and oxygen to the carburetor at low temperatures.