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Nissan Recalls 2009-2010 Cubes for Fuel Leaks

Independent NHTSA test reveals fuel tank leaks in rear crash.

by on Jul.26, 2010

Nissan now joins Toyota in failing a rear crash test.

An independent crash test conducted for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that Nissan Cube models do not comply with a Federal motor vehicle safety standard that limits the amount of fuel that can leak in a rear crash.

Leaking gasoline during an accident can cause a fire if something ignites it.

It was not immediately clear if NHTSA has stepped upped its scrutiny of Japanese safety and compliance claims in a post Toyota era. And the safety agency will not comment on investigations in process.

As a result of the failed crash test, Nissan is recalling model year 2009-2010 Cube vehicles manufactured from January 30, 2009 through July 30, 2010. About 46,000 Cube models are affected.

Nissan said in a memo to NHTSA that its internal testing had not revealed the failure, but it could find no problems with the test that the Cube failed.

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Recall Analysis!

Nissan is the second maker to fail an independently conducted rear crash test. Last month after NHTSA informed a beleaguered Toyota that a Lexus hybrid model leaked dangerous amounts of fuel during a rear crash test, Toyota recalled 17,000 2010 model year Lexus HS 250h vehicles because they violate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 301.

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Toyota to Recall 270,000 Lexus Models for Stalling

Oh where, oh where is the vaunted quality reputation now?

by on Jul.01, 2010

A number of Lexus vehicles, including the hybrid GS 450h, are among the latest to face recalls.

Toyota Motor Corporation (7203.TO) confirmed late yesterday in Tokyo that it would recall 270,000 luxury vehicles around the world to fix an engine stalling or rough idling problem. No current models are apparently involved.

The latest quality and safety problem follows recalls earlier this year of about 8.5 million vehicles for unintended acceleration or stuck throttle problems, among other defects.

Last week Toyota informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would that it will recall 17,000 2010 model year Lexus HS 250h vehicles in the U.S. because they violate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 301, which limits the amount of fuel that can leak after a rear impact. (See Another Toyota Recall Coming on Lexus Hybrids) NHTSA discovered the defect first.

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Recalls!

The beleaguered automaker, which once had an unimpeachable quality reputation, said the valvetrain of 4.6-liter V8 engines and 3.5-liter V6 engines used in the Lexus LS460, Lexus LS600h, Lexus LS600hL, Lexus GS350, Lexus GS450h, Lexus GS460 and Lexus IS350 and the Toyota Crown is making the luxury cars stall. “Contaminated material” was used during the manufacturing process.

About 270,000 vehicles are affected, 90,000 were sold in Japan and the balance overseas.

Another Toyota Recall Coming on Lexus Hybrids

Fuel leaking after rear impact violates law. Stop sale ensues.

by on Jun.26, 2010

HS250h is based on the European Toyota Avensis. European rear crash standards are more lenient than U.S. ones.

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), that it will recall 17,000 2010 model year Lexus HS 250h vehicles because they violate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 301.

Sales of the Lexus have been halted.

NHTSA had previously informed Toyota the Lexus hybrid leaked dangerous amounts of fuel during a rear crash test that is part of NHTSA’s annual compliance testing program, which only tests some vehicles.

TMS does not have the authority to order a recall. The decision is made in Japan. Toyota recently paid a record $16.4 million fine to settle a complaint that it failed to tell regulators of potentially dangerous defects. Since NHTSA discovered this defect, it raises the question about another cover-up fine or whether vagaries in test results will end the matter after a recall is conducted.

NHTSA, of course, is under intense pressure to prove that it is not the “lapdog of the auto industry,” as it was called by many critics during Congressional hearings about Toyota  unintended acceleration deaths, an ongoing controversy.

The HS250h is based on the European Toyota Avensis. European rear crash standards are  more lenient than U.S. ones. European regulatory oversight of auto companies concerning defects is also less stringent than in the U.S. in the minds of some industry observers.

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Analysis!

In a statement Toyota said, “During vehicle development, Lexus tested the HS 250h using the same protocol and found the vehicles to comply fully with the FMVSS 301. Lexus is currently working to identify the reason for the different test results and the cause of this noncompliance.”   (more…)