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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.

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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.


NHTSA Chief Signals Crackdown on Auto Industry Testing

“We’re questioning everything now,” says Rosekind.

by on Sep.22, 2015

“You have to question all assumptions,” says Rosekind.

Following a series of deadly safety scandals and, now, Volkswagen’s attempt to cheat on federal emissions standards, federal regulators will be a less tolerant of industry claims, especially when it comes to self-certified testing, warned the nation’s automotive chief.

“We’re questioning everything now,” said Mark Rosekind, director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during an appearance at an industry conference in the Detroit suburb of Novi. “You have to question all assumptions.”


Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the recall of 482,000 Volkswagen diesel-powered vehicles after learning the automaker had installed a so-called “defeat device” designed to meet emissions standards when undergoing standard testing procedures. But once on the road, the vehicles were able to produce as much as 40 times the legal limit of harmful emissions.


10 Automakers Commit to Making Auto Emergency Braking Standard

Crash avoidance tech will be offered on all future vehicles, but no start date set.

by on Sep.11, 2015

Auto braking is now commonplace on high-end vehicles like the new BMW 750i, but will soon be on most vehicles at all price points.

Ten major vehicle manufacturers from the U.S., Europe and Japan have jointly agreed to make automatic emergency braking systems standard on all their future vehicles.

An advanced form of forward collision warning systems that have already been shown to significantly reduce crashes, have already begun to migrate from high-end luxury models to more mainstream products and a number of automakers already offer auto braking technology as optional equipment. But the announcement means it would become all but ubiquitous.


The move appears to allow the auto industry to take the lead in rolling out auto braking systems, rather than waiting for the federal government to mandate the technology, as had been widely anticipated. At an event in Ruckersville, Virginia today, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind said the agreement puts the rollout of the technology on the “fast track,” calling it “life-saving technology that everyone should have.”


Chrysler Recalling 1.5 Mil Trucks to Fix Airbag Problem

Short-circuit could cause bags to inflate without a crash.

by on Sep.10, 2015

Ram's popular 1500 is one of the pickups targeted by two new airbag recalls.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling over 1.5 million pickup trucks to fix a series of airbag problems, including one that could cause the vehicles’ side-impact airbags to inflate inadvertently even when there’s been no crash.

The announcement comes amidst of a rash of airbag-related recalls. But the problems involving Ram pickups are unrelated to the recalls that have so far targeted around 23 million vehicles using potentially deadly Takata airbag inflators. The biggest of two new FCA recalls is related to a wiring defect in various Ram pickup models.

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Fiat Chrysler says its investigators discovered that, in some trucks, wires in the steering wheel may rub against a spring and eventually short-circuit, causing a vehicle’s side-impact airbag to inflate without a crash.


AutoNation Won’t Sell Recalled Cars

Move could pressure other retailers, lawmakers to follow.

by on Sep.09, 2015

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson.

The nation’s largest automotive dealer network has announced it will no longer sell either new or used vehicles subject to a recall until they have been repaired.

The announcement by Ft. Lauderdale-based AutoNation comes as the number of safety-related recalls has been surging to record levels. But while the U.S. Senate recently passed a measure that would force rental companies to pull recalled vehicles out of their fleets pending repairs, dealers were not required to take similar actions before selling such vehicles. And the House has yet to take action on its own version of the bill.

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“There’s no way to expect that customers would or should know of every safety recall on every vehicle they might purchase, so we will ensure that our vehicles have all recalls completed,” said AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson. “We make it our responsibility as a retailer to identify those vehicles and remove them from the market until their safety issues have been addressed.”


Ten Automakers Sued Over Deadly Keyless Ignition Risks

Suit claims 13 deaths caused by carbon monoxide poisoning.

by on Aug.27, 2015

The Ford Flex is one of a growing number of vehicles to use keyless ignition systems.

A lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Los Angeles naming 10 of the world’s largest automakers as defendants in a suit alleging 13 deaths were caused by faulty keyless ignition systems.

The complaint claims that the systems allow motorists to walk away thinking the vehicles have been shut off but actually can continue running, producing deadly carbon monoxide gas. The suit alleges that the 10 automakers have known about the problem but hid it from consumers and continued to market the keyless ignition systems.

Turn on to TDB!

“The automakers had actual knowledge of the dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning consequences of vehicles with keyless fobs that lack an automatic shut-off,” the lawsuit stated.

The federal lawsuit names as defendants General Motors, Ford Motor Co. Fiat Chrysler, Mercedes Benz, Honda, BMW, Hyundai Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen, as well as some of their subsidiary brands.


Automakers Rapidly Expand Availability of Forward Crash Prevention Systems

Technology boosts safety ratings, says Insurance Institute.

by on Aug.26, 2015

Ford workers prepare a mannequin for testing the maker's new pedestrian alert system.

Once available only on a handful of the most expensive luxury models, a growing number of vehicles, including mainstream and even economy models, now offer forward crash warning systems. That means better protection for passengers and improved safety ratings for manufacturers.

For the first time ever, more than half of all new cars, trucks and crossovers offer standard or optional forward crash warning systems, according to a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And a quarter of all new vehicles take things a step further with warning systems that can automatically apply the brakes, if necessary.

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There’s growing evidence the technology is helping reduce highway crashes, injuries, and possibly fatalities.

As part of its ongoing series of tests, the IIHS is awarding 19 new models its superior or advanced ratings due to the addition of forward crash warning technology.


Consumers Increasingly Frustrated, Dissatisfied by Recalls

Satisfaction levels falls to lowest level in over a decade.

by on Aug.25, 2015

More and more Americans are finding automotive recall notices in their mailboxes.

Have you received a recall for your car, truck or crossover? Maybe several? If so, chances are you’re growing frustrated and dissatisfied as a result.

A new study finds that, despite an overall increase in quality, the epidemic of recalls that reached an all-time record of 64 million vehicles last year has left Americans less happy with the cars and trucks they drive than at any time in more than a decade. And with the spate of new recalls showing little sign of slowing, the situation isn’t likely to improve anytime soon.

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“While it is true that all cars are now much better than they were 10 to 20 years ago, it is alarming that so many of them have quality problems,” said Claes Fornell, chairman and found of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index.


Rental Car Act Named for Two Sisters Killed in Crash Passes Senate

House delays vote until after recess.

by on Jul.31, 2015

The Houck sisters were killed instantly when their vehicle spun out of control and hit a truck head-on.

With Washington lawmakers set to go home for their summer recess, family and friends of two sisters killed in a 2004 rental car crash received at least one bit of good news.

The Senate passed a 6-year highway bill on Thursday that includes the terms of the long-delayed Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act. The House won’t deal with the measure until lawmakers return to the capital in September. But if they also approve the measure it would ensure that rental car companies can no longer keep cars in operation that are subject to recall until the necessary fixes are made.

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The two California sisters were killed in a crash of a Chrysler PT Cruiser they’d gotten from Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Initially, the company attempted to blame 24-year-old Raechel, who was driving, going so far as to say she might have been “suicidal or on drugs.” But a jury later disagreed,