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Automakers Seek Insurance Industry Help Boosting Recall Repair Rate

47 million vehicles have unrepaired safety problems.

by on Apr.15, 2016

Recalled vehicles can turn deadly when defects - like this Takata airbag - aren't repaired.

With millions of American motorists routinely ignoring recall notices despite the potentially deadly risks, automakers are looking for ways to increase repair rates, and turning to an unexpected ally.

An auto industry trade group is asking the insurance industry to remind motorists to check to see if their cars are subject to recalls whenever it’s time to renew their policies. Under pressure from regulators and safety advocates, automakers have also been trying other strategies that have, in some instances, included offering owners gift cards if they respond to outstanding recalls.

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The problem is considered serious and only growing worse – highlighted by the March 31st death of a Texas high school senior whose 2002 Honda was fitted with a defective Takata airbag. She was killed by flying shrapnel in what authorities said was an otherwise modest collision. The vehicle had not been repaired despite Honda’s claim that it had previously sent out six recall notices.

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Safety Remain Big Issue as 2015 Draws to Close with Flurry of Recalls

Total likely to near new record.

by on Dec.28, 2015

Faulty Takata airbags were a major reason why recall numbers have run so high this year.

From Ferrari to Subaru, the auto industry is ending 2015 with a flurry of safety-related recalls, more than 1 million in the last week alone.

Final figures for 2015 haven’t been released yet, but they’re expected to come in as a close second to the record 64 million vehicles recalled in the U.S. in 2014. And they cover a wide variety of issues and an even wider range of vehicles from faulty transmissions to fire hazards and exploding airbags.

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The huge number of recalls over the last two years is not a surprise to Joan Claybrook, a former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The companies are more likely to behave and do a recall when they know the law is going to be enforced.”

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Senate Bill Would Bar Rental of Vehicles with Unrepaired Recall Problems

Measure has support of major rental firms - but dealers oppose it.

by on May.01, 2015

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

A new bill facing the Senate would ban car rental companies from offering vehicles to consumers until outstanding recall problems are repaired.

Dubbed the Rachel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2015, the measure is named after two sisters killed in the 2004 crash of a Chrysler PT Cruiser they had rented which had a serious defect that hadn’t been fixed.

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“Whether they come from the renter’s lot or a dealership, cars under recall should be not be on the road until their defect is repaired,” said NY Senator Charles Schumer, and one of the lead sponsors, along with California’s Barbara Boxer, Missouri’s Claire McCaskill Florida’s Bill Nelson, all Democrats. A similar piece of legislation is facing the House of Representatives.

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Ford, Chrysler Recall 1.5 Million Vehicles

GM also orders another – small – recall.

by on May.10, 2014

Ford's Escape has faced a number of recalls since it was redesigned two years ago.

In the wake of General Motors’ controversial recall of 2.6 million vehicles due to faulty ignition switches it appears automakers are being far more sensitive to potential safety problems – and Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Group are the latest to announce recalls that collectively total about 1.5 million vehicles.

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GM is also adding to its expanding recall count – which reached a total of 7 million vehicles during the first quarter alone. It has now added another 9,000 midsize sedans to the list.

This week’s big safety news comes from the other members of Detroit’s Big Three, however.

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BMW Recalling Over 134,000 Luxury Sedans

Taillight problem can lead to crash, says NHTSA.

by on Sep.20, 2013

BMW's 5-Series is the target of the Bavarian maker's latest safety recall.

BMW will recall more than 134,000 of its mid-range 5-Series models because their rear lights can fail – a problem federal safety regulators warn could lead to a collision.

It’s the latest in a series of high-volume recalls by the low-volume maker, following a service action earlier this year impacting more than 500,000 vehicles.

The new recall impacts a range of 5-Series model sold during the 2008 through 2010 model-years, including the 528i, 535i, 550i and M5.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, corrosion on electrical connections can lead the taillights, backup lights and rear turn signal lamps on these vehicles to short out, potentially leading to a crash.

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Chrysler Announces Major New Recalls

Nearly 840,000 vehicles impacted by five separate campaigns.

by on Jul.08, 2013

Chrysler's 200 sedan is one of the maker's many models covered by five separate new recalls.

Chrysler Group LLC is recalling nearly 840,000 vehicles due to a series of safety-related issued, putting new stress on the Detroit maker’s efforts to rebuild its reputation for quality, reliability and durability.

The problems cover a wide range of issues, including faulty head restraints, airbag software glitches and electronic stability control systems. The quintet of recalls comes just weeks after the maker reluctantly agreed to call back 1.2 million Jeeps due to potential fire hazards.

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Though the Jeep recall was significantly smaller than federal safety regulators originally sought it nonetheless means that Chrysler has so far had more individual vehicles sold in the U.S. covered by recall orders than any other maker.

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Chrysler Ram, Dakota Trucks Among Nearly 300,000 Vehicles Targeted by Recall

Axle problem could cause crash. Chrysler also announced new airbag recall.

by on Feb.15, 2013

The Ram 1500 is one of several vehicles covered by a new recall due to an axle defect.

A problem with a rear axle component that could cause a loss of control is forcing Chrysler to recall a wide array of vehicles including its full-size and midsize pickups and several SUV models.

In all, a total of 278,222 Ram 1500 pickups from the 2009 through 2012 model-years are covered by the service action, along with 2009 to 2011 Dodge Dakota pickups and 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs.

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In a separate announcement, Chrysler also says it will recall 4,278 Dodge Viper sports cars from the 2003 and 2004 model-years. That service action is the result of a circuit board problem that could prevent the vehicle’s airbag from properly inflating.  A similar problem already forced the recall of older Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee models.

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Airbag Problems Force Recall of Ford Fiesta

Side bags may not always inflate in crash.

by on Oct.16, 2012

Fiesta faces a recall.

Ford Motor Co. says it will recall 154,000 of its Fiesta subcompacts due to a problem with the vehicle’s airbag system.

The maker has discovered that if the front passenger seat is empty the Fiesta’s side-impact airbags will not deploy in a collision, even if there are passengers in the rear — potentially leading to increased injuries.

The maker says it has received no reports of injuries connected to the problem, however.

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The problem appears to be linked to a mis-programmed “smart” safety system designed to stop the front passenger airbag from deploying if that seat is empty. Ford plans to advise owners to return to a dealer service facility where the software controlling the airbags can be reprogrammed.

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Jeep Recall Upped to Nearly 350,000 Liberty SUVs

Corrosion problem can lead to suspension failures, crashes.

by on Jun.11, 2012

Jeep expands a recall of the Liberty SUV.

Jeep’s problems with a potentially serious suspension problem on the mid-range Liberty model have just gotten worse, the makerexpanding the ongoing recall to now cover nearly 350,000 of the compact SUVs.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the lower control arms in Liberty’s rear suspension can experience excess corrosion that can cause them to weaken and break. In such a situation that could lead to a loss of control and a possible crash, NHTSA warns.

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The problem appears to be primarily isolated in Snowbelt regions where sale it used to clear roads, and the recall includes vehicles sold or registered in states that include Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Washington, D.C.

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Toyota Narrowly Misses Third Year Atop Recall List

Overall, recalls down for 2011.

by on Dec.30, 2011

Toyota recalled 200,000 Sienna minivans in 2011, the third year in a row in which it topped the U.S. recall list, with 3.5 million of its vehicles impacted overall.

Editor’s Note: This story has been revised to reflect a last-minute Honda action and final federal recall numbers for 2011.

It isn’t always good to be number one, as Toyota clearly understands.  While it slipped from first to third in the global automotive sales sweepstakes when the books are closed on 2011 the Japanese giant might be more pleased that it narrowly missed having the most recalls of any automaker in the U.S. for the third year in a row.

That dubious distinction now goes to Honda, which expanded its ongoing series of airbag defect-related actions to end the year having recalled 3.8 million vehicles.  Honda closed 2011 with 15 separate campaigns compared to Toyota’s still sizable 13.

Despite the maker’s claim that it has put its quality and safety problems behind it, Toyota — and its Scion and Lexus brands — still were forced to recall 3.5 million vehicles this past year, significantly more than the third-highest manufacturer on the government’s list.  And that doesn’t include a sizable number of vehicles for which the maker issued technical service bulletins, which encouraged dealers to fix nagging problems that didn’t wind up getting tallied on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s formal recall chart.

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In all, automakers recalled 15.5 million light vehicles in 2011, according to an analysis by WardsAuto, a sharp decline from the 20 million year before when the industry – largely due to Toyota — saw callbacks jump to 17.2 million cars, trucks and crossovers.  Toyota alone had 7 million vehicles involved in its 2010 campaigns. The worst year for the auto industry was 2000 when 24.3 million vehicles were involved in safety-related recalls.

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