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California DA Targets GM with New Lawsuit

Maker accused of hiding defects, engaged in false, unfair advertising.

by on Jul.02, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra is likely to have a number of legal battles on her hands over recalls.

The legal morass surrounding General Motors continues to get deeper despite this week’s announcement that it has established a special fund to compensate victims of crashes linked to a defective ignition switch.

In Orange County, in the heart of the intensely competitive Southern California new car market, the District Attorney’s office has brought a lawsuit against GM. The suit not only cites the defective ignition switch but also states GM has withheld information about nearly three dozen other defects. It also charges GM had engaged in unfair competition and false advertising in violation of California law when it failed to disclose those safety problems.

The Journal of Record!

The lawsuit was filed just weeks after a separate class action was initiated by a Seattle law firm claiming to represent owners of GM products who feel those vehicles have lost value because of GM’s recall blitz.


Data Doesn’t Back $10 Bil GM Class-Action Lawsuit

“Opportunistic and despicable,” says senior industry analyst.

by on Jun.19, 2014

General Motors CEO Mary Barra during a hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Calling it “potentially precedent-setting,” a Seattle law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against General Motors that could, it estimated, expose the automaker to damages of as much as $10 billion for economic losses suffered by owners of GM products.

At the heart of the case, the consumers-rights firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro argues that owners of products such as the Chevrolet Cobalt sedan and sporty Chevy Camaro coupe not only paid more than they should have, but will get back less in trade-in, than they deserve as a result of the troubled Detroit automaker’s rapidly expanding list of safety-related recalls, which has grown to nearly 18 million vehicles this year alone.

The suit was filed on the same day GM CEO Mary Barra returned to Capitol Hill for hearings on the maker’s problems, in particular, the decade-long delay in recalling vehicles equipped with a faulty ignition switch linked to at least 13 deaths. GM also faces an investigation by the Justice Department that could lead to criminal charges and huge fines.

(For more on Barra’s return trip to Washington, Click Here.)

Keeping Things Honest!

But despite the breadth of its recall problems, and sometimes breathless headlines that has engendered, the new class-action lawsuit appears, at best, to rest on shaky data and emotional appeal. If anything, the numbers generally suggest that the maker’s ongoing recall problems have had little, if any impact on the sale of either its new or used vehicles, nor on the prices consumers have been willing to pay.


First look: Honda Civic Si Sedan and Coupe

Critical ninth-generation compact replaces spaceship design with swoopy, windswept look.

by on Jan.10, 2011

The 2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe is very likely to look very much like the concept unveiled Monday at the Detroit auto show.

Don’t think for a moment that Honda is ready to give up any ground in a compact market that it has dominated with the Civic, one of its two bread-and-butter products.

On Monday at the Detroit auto show, John Mendel, Honda’s executive vice president for sales, unveiled the exterior of the Civic Si  sedan and coupe concepts. While he did show an interior sketch – showing a slightly more conservative dashboard than the current generation – he said the automaker will officially unveil the interior later.

Detroit Auto Show News!

The automaker is calling the cars concepts, but they are essentially the cars that will go on sale later this year.

Honda had originally planned to launch the ninth-generation Civic for the 2011 model year, but pushed it back for undisclosed reasons, meaning the car hasn’t been updated since it was launched for the 2006 model year.


Side Impact Tests “Good” for Small Volvo and Ford Cars, Only Acceptable for Honda, Chevy and Scion

All five small cars crashed are rated as acceptable or better in latest IIHS front, rear, and side impact simulations.

by on Jul.21, 2009

Volvo, a company that markets safety, obtained the same rating as Ford -- even though C30 is built on an updated version of the Focus platform.

Volvo, a company that markets safety, obtained the same rating as Ford -- even though C30 is built on an updated version of the Focus platform.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released the latest results from its ongoing safety tests, which exceed the standards imposed by the U.S. government. In the latest side-impact tests, five 2009 coupes were crunched, including the Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, and Scion tC, small models all, although technically the Volvo C30 is rated as a mid-size car.

In the Institute’s side impact test, the C30 and Focus are rated good in results, which simulate an SUV hitting the side of a car at 31 mph. What’s interesting about the Volvo and Ford ratings is the Ford obtained the same “good” as the Volvo, even though it is built from an older version of a shared platform. It is just one example of the challenges Volvo faces maintaining its long-standing reputation for safety as all makers continue to improve their performance in the tests. And the good here does not allow for further distinctions.

The Civic, Cobalt, and tC models are rated a notch down at “acceptable.” Caveat: the Cobalt’s rating applies to vehicles built after May 2009, when General Motors modified its curtain airbags.

It is the side airbags that appear key to the positive results, as all of these cars had side airbags. In 2003, facing federal regulation, automakers promised to voluntarily put side airbags in their vehicles as standard equipment by the 2010 model year.

No Impact Test Needed!

No Impact Test Needed!

The Institute rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on performance in front- and side-crash tests. The third, rear-impact test, measures how well vehicle seats and head restraints protect people against neck injury in low-speed rear crashes.

Side impacts are the second most common type of fatal crash. More than 8,000 people were killed in side impacts in 2007. This compares with more than 14,000 deaths in frontal crashes.

Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph. The barrier represents the front end of a pickup or SUV. Ratings reflect injury measures recorded on two instrumented SID-IIs dummies, assessment of head protection countermeasures, and the vehicle’s structural performance during the impact.