Tag Archive | "Mazda"

Mazda Unveils All-New ‘Retail Evolution’ Dealership Design


IRVINE, Calif. — Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) has announced its all-new dealership design, dubbed “Retail Evolution.”

The open concept floorplan offers business transparency and upscale décor featuring natural materials. The first Retail Evolution dealership built from the ground up to this exacting standard will be Mazda of Everett in Seattle, Wash., which opened on Aug. 27.

“Thanks to our KODO design philosophy and suite of SKYACTIV technologies, our vehicle lineup has never been stronger. We are now able to take that groundbreaking design language and translate it into our dealership experience,” said Jim O’Sullivan, president and CEO of MNAO. “Retail Evolution embodies the spirit and direction of the Mazda brand, while offering an upscale experience our customers expect and deserve.”

Clad in black, clean white and featuring new chrome Mazda signage, the new Retail Evolution Mazda dealerships will provide dealers with strong curb appeal. New materials throughout the building give dealers an upscale look and feel with warm raw-material tones of wood and metal in the showroom. The new Retail Evolution facility will use more glass, allowing customers a transparent view into the dealership operations. The recharged Mazda Lounge will provide customers with technology features such as multiple-device charging stations and access to free Wi-Fi. Digital displays will provide continuous motion and reduce stale imagery as vehicle designs and models change with time.

“After working closely with Jerry McCann, the general manager and dealer principal of Mazda of Everett, we are thrilled to finally reveal this new Retail Evolution experience. I’m confident it will be well received by Jerry’s staff working in the store every day, as well as customers looking to purchase or lease a new or used Mazda,” O’Sullivan added.

Retail Evolution will feature three different tiers that are loosely based on the Retail Revolution model, which was introduced 12 years ago. Mazda will continue to work with its dealers to find the right tier for their specific needs.

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Mazda Adds 540,000 Vehicles to Takata Air Bag Recall


Japanese automaker Mazda Motor Co. said Friday it is recalling nearly 540,000 cars and pickups in North America for air bag inflators that can explode, adding to the massive recall of vehicles with potentially defective Takata Corp. air bags, reports The Detroit News.

Recalled cars include the 2003-08 Mazda 6, 2006-07 MazdaSpeed 6 and the 2004-08 RX-8 for defective driver’s-side bags. Mazda’s recall also includes the 2004-06 B-Series pickups for defective passenger-side bags.

The latest recall includes 330,000 vehicles that Mazda said last year it would repair under a safety improvement campaign, that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration classified as a recall.

In total, 11 automakers are recalling nearly 34 million vehicles after Takata last month declared the vehicles defective. The decision effectively doubled the recall of vehicles with Takata vehicles that had already been called back. Worldwide, more than 50 million vehicles have been recalled for air bag inflators that can explode and fling metal shrapnel at drivers and passengers when the bags are activated.

The safety defect is linked to six deaths and 100 injuries, with all of the deaths reported in Hondas.

To date, eight of the 11 automakers have notified NHTSA about which new cars are part of the latest recalls. Just over 30.4 million vehicles have been named to the recall to date.

Takata may have to again replace the air bags of at least one-tenth of the 4 million vehicles that already have been repaired. But the company hasn’t identified which cars and trucks are covered by the need for a second repair.

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind told The Detroit News on Thursday the agency plans to announce when all the automakers have submitted notifications. He told Congress this week it could still take a couple weeks before all vehicle identification numbers are on safercar.gov.

Takata came under criticism this week for saying it will continue to use ammonium nitrate in replacement air bags, even as it admits the propellant is a factor in the explosions. Although the exact cause of the problem is unknown, it is believed that high heat and humidity can cause the propellant to become unstable and ignite with more force than intended.

The company’s rivals don’t use that propellant, and Takata has said it will transition away from it. Rosekind said that decision is up to Takata. “We’re just pointing out there’s all these other solutions that work just fine,” he said.

Rosekind praised Takata for its cooperation after it signed a consent order with NHTSA on May 19. “There’s a dramatic difference,” he said. “We went 180 degrees from denial to not just acceptance… but now we have a path forward.”

It could take Takata two years to build enough replacement parts, but Rosekind hopes that process can be sped up. NHTSA is moving into “the driver’s seat” by using its authority under a 2000 law to oversee the massive recall, and Rosekind said he hopes in that position the agency can speed replacement parts to market. NHTSA will hold meetings with automakers and Takata.

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Takata Air Bag Recall Expands to Record 34 Million Vehicles


As part of an agreement with Takata, federal regulators expanded the recall of vehicles equipped with the company’s air bags to 33.8 million in the U.S., making it the largest safety recall in the nation’s history, reports Detroit Free Press.

The move essentially doubles the number of vehicles being recalled to replace potentially lethal air bags made by the Japanese supplier. At least six people have died and more than 100 have been injured from shards of metal from exploding air bags.

Takata, for its part, officially acknowledged the defects for the first time on Tuesday, even though 17 million vehicles with its air bags already have been recalled.

Mark Rosekind, recently appointed administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said no one knows how long it could take to fix the vehicles, but “it could take some years. … We intend to make sure at the end of this process there is a safe airbag in every vehicle.”

The NHTSA recall now involves 11 automakers, including the Detroit Three, most affecting 2002 through 2008 model years. Takata is partly owned by Honda, which has the highest percentage of recalled vehicles. The total number could change as automakers sift through the specs of all of their models to determine which ones contain any of the four defective inflators, which activate the air bags in a collision.

Many consumers will have to drive their vehicles for a long time before the parts are available to fix them, with the industry unable to manufacture replacement bags fast enough. They could also be waiting months for the notification their vehicle is subject to recall because automakers must prioritize vehicles at most risk based on their age and geographic location

The announcement is the second example in as many days of Rosekind cracking down on automakers to address safety on U.S. roads. On Monday, Rosekind announced he has scheduled a hearing in July for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to explain their slow response in completing repairs in 20 different recalls.

NHTSA has been pushing for Takata to expand its air bag recall. Automakers had recalled about 17 million vehicles, many of them from Honda. The latest move largely makes this a national recall of vehicles from 11 automakers with vehicles that potentially have faulty inflators in the driver or passenger-side air bag.

“Up until now Takata has refused to acknowledge that their airbags are defective, that changes today,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Takata has agreed to declare their air bag inflators are defective.”

Takata Chairman Shigehisa Takada, in a statement, said, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with NHTSA, which presents a clear path forward to advancing safety and restoring the trust of automakers and the driving public.”

The supplier has also agreed to enter into a consent order with NHTSA to supply all related documents and information about the defective airbags and pledged full cooperation going forward.

In return, NHTSA has suspended more than $1 million in accumulated fines — $14,000 per day since February — for not responding to all NHTSA’s inquiries. The agency has not ruled out more fines in the future and there could be further civil penalties.

Initially the exploding air bags were considered a problem only in hot and humid climates but the recall has been expanded nationally as Takata and affected automakers continue to try to identify the root cause of the problem so they can fix it.

The recall has also expanded to cover both driver and passenger side air bags in more vehicles and regions.

Automakers with affected vehicles include Honda, Toyota, Ford, BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and the newly added Daimler Trucks. The automakers formed a coalition and hired independent engineering firm Orbital ATK to try to find the cause of the exploding air bags. Their investigation is in addition to those being conducted by NHTSA and Takata in an industry-wide effort to find the reason for the defect to make sure it is fixed properly.

NHTSA also is opening its own testing program to focus on ensuring the remedy is completely safe. Rosekind said while the replacement air bags are safer than the ones they replace, he cannot guarantee their long-term safety at this time.

“We are doing our best to keep focused on the investigation,” said former NHTSA Administrator David Kelly who was hired to oversee the investigation by the automakers. Efforts to determine the root cause are still in the early stages of testing, he said.

Safety officials warn consumers to keep checking their vehicle VIN number on the www.safercar.gov website because even some of the vehicles previously fixed – or excluded in the past — could be back on the recall list in the future.

Consumer who receive recall notices should call their dealer immediately.

“Folks shouldn’t have to drive around wondering if their airbag is going to explode in their face or if their car is going to be on another recall list,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee and a key figure in a congressional probe into the defective airbags. “We’ve seen the recall list double now to 30 million cars. Let’s hope Takata’s admissions today tells us the whole story.”

Rich Newsome, an attorney representing seven victims of faulty Takata air bags, including Corey Burdick, a Florida man disfigured and blinded in one eye by shrapnel from an exploding air bag in May, called it a victory for consumer protection.

But, he said, “today’s expanded recall is already too little, too late for people injured and their families. Hopefully today’s news will push the agenda for recall reform to the forefront and result in legislation that will help NHTSA identify these kinds of defects before regular families with defective cars are needlessly harmed in the future.”

Automakers say they will continue to work with NHTSA and share test results. Honda said many of the recalls announced Monday already were included in previous safety campaigns and the automaker is “reviewing the information released (Monday) to determine what new actions may be required.”

Honda owners can check their recall status at www.recalls.honda.com or call 800-999-1009. Acura owners should go to www.recalls.acura.com or call 800-382-2238 and press option 4.

“A recall of this scope illustrates the potential for massive automaker expense and consumer inconvenience when a common, mass-produced part is defective,” said Karl Brauer, analyst with Kelley Blue Book.

“While this is the largest consumer recall in history it’s likely we’ll see future vehicle recalls of similar, if not larger, size as the automotive industry becomes more globalized.” Brauer said.

Takata boosted production to 450,000 replacement kits per month in March, up from 350,000. Other suppliers are also ramping up capacity to meet the demand the recall has created as the industry works to address the problem collectively.

Autoliv, another global supplier of airbags, said Tuesday it could make more airbag inflators than it has already promised to the industry.

In January, Autoliv committed to providing several automakers with as many as 25 million airbag inflators and could begin delivering them later this year.

“Our focus has really been to help the industry and the customers in this situation and clearly if we would be asked to supply more we would work to do that as rapidly as we could,” said Thomas Jonsson, spokesman for Autoliv.

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Toyota, Mazda in Talks on Expanding Partnership


Toyota Motor Corp and Mazda Motor Corp are in talks to expand their technology partnership to fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs), sources said on Saturday, as global automakers face rising costs to comply with stricter emission regulations, reported Reuters.

The two Japanese automakers already have a technology and production tie-up, and Toyota was now considering providing fuel-cell and plug-in-hybrid technology to Mazda, said the two sources, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Mazda, in return, was considering offering its partner fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel engine technology under its proprietary SkyActiv series, the sources said.

Mazda has been trying to develop FCVs on its own, but it has decided to team up with Toyota, which produces the Mirai, the world’s only mass-market fuel-cell car, the sources said.

Toyota has said hydrogen FCVs offer the most promising zero-emission alternative to conventional cars since they have a similar driving range and refueling time.

Toyota has already decided to share some of its patents concerning fuel cell technology for free, hoping this will speed up the development of the infrastructure.

The Nikkei business daily reported the two companies intended to reach an agreement on the partnership soon.

Toyota and Mazda officials said nothing has been decided.

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U.S. Auto Regulator Seeks Nationwide Recall of Takata Air Bags


The U.S. auto safety regulator has told Japanese supplier Takata Corp and five automakers to expand nationwide a regional recall of potentially lethal air bags, increasing pressure on the industry to move faster in a growing scandal, reported Reuters.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also scolded Takata for what it called “an unwillingness to move forward” on a nationwide recall, and said the company needs to be open with the U.S. public about the risks of its air bags.

Takata and automakers have so far taken a targeted approach in recalling U.S. vehicles with air bags that can rupture upon deployment, shooting shrapnel into the car. Five fatalities, including four in the United States, have been linked to the air bags.

The U.S. regional recall has involved 4.1 million cars in hot and humid areas where the air bags may be prone to fail, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and parts of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. Most of those cars are made by Honda Motor, Takata’s biggest client.

In a call with reporters on Tuesday, NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman declined to estimate how many more cars would be included in a nationwide recall.

Shares in Takata dropped by as much as 7.8 percent in Tokyo on Wednesday, and have now slid 64 percent this year to 5-1/2-year lows.

Takata has already set aside more than $750 million for recall-related costs, but Takayuki Atake, manager of credit research at SMBC Nikko Securities, warned a national recall would need more provisioning and raised the risk of a deeper credit rating downgrade than initially expected.

Japan Credit Rating Agency has put Takata’s single-A rating on negative watch. “However, risk of a (three-notch) downgrade to BBB would increase if the expanded recall leads to further erosion of shareholder equity and/or a negative impact on Takata’s capacity for generating profits and cash flow,” Atake wrote in a report.

Takata, NHTSA, Honda and Chrysler have been called to testify at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday, where Takata will be represented by Hiroshi Shimizu, a 36-year company veteran and senior vice president of global quality assurance.

MILLIONS MORE?

Around 16 million cars with Takata air bags have been recalled worldwide over the past six years, with more than 10 million of those in the United States.

NHTSA’s Friedman said the recall expansion was prompted by an August incident involving a 2007 Ford Mustang in North Carolina, outside the area of the regional recalls.

The agency ordered Ford, Mazda Motor, Honda, Chrysler and BMW to send notifications for replacement driver-side air bags to consumers quickly. “We will begin a process both with Takata and the automakers to force them to recall all affected” vehicles, Friedman said.

Ford, Honda, Mazda and Chrysler said they would continue to cooperate with NHTSA and plan to evaluate their call for a national recall. But each stopped short of saying they would expand beyond the current set of cars they are fixing. BMW is already recalling air bags nationally.

Spokesman Alby Berman said Takata would cooperate with regulators and automakers if an expanded recall is required, but noted that “of almost 1,000 passenger and driver inflators from outside the high humidity areas that have been evaluated to date, none have ruptured.”

“Takata is concerned that a national recall could potentially divert replacement air bags from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk,” he said in a statement.

It’s unclear just how long it could take to replace so many air bags. NHTSA said it is pressuring Takata to ramp up production of replacement parts and has said it will explore using other suppliers to help with production if needed.

Takata has said it would add two production lines at its Monclova, Mexico plant in January to make replacement air bag inflators. Workers there have told Reuters that a single line has a typical quota of around 200 inflators an hour, meaning it could take five months to make 1 million inflators working around the clock on two lines, five days a week.

NOT ENOUGH

Auto safety advocates and lawmakers said NHTSA’s latest move may still not capture the scope of the problem, is too late, and may not be enforceable.

Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal said they were pleased NHTSA recognized the “national scope” of the problem,” but said the call to replace driver-side air bags should be expanded to also include passenger air bags.

NHTSA agreed in June to allow automakers to do a regional recall and use their discretion in deciding how and when to notify customers and replace faulty parts, resulting in confusion for car owners receiving mixed messages.

Friedman criticized Takata for resisting when NHTSA this week called on it to issue a defect notification nationwide for air bags of a certain design. “Takata’s initial response was an unwillingness to move forward, and frankly, that is one of the reasons we are talking to you today, because I believe everyone needs to understand that Takata needs to act,” he said.

Asked about Friedman’s comment, Takata said: “We have been dealing sincerely with U.S. authorities and … will continue to do so, prioritizing customers’ safety.”

NHTSA also addressed lingering confusion over what exactly makes some air bags explode. It said it ordered Takata to provide under oath documents and information on the propellant used in newly designed air bag inflators, after Takata recently said it had changed the chemical mix of its inflators.

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NHTSA Urges Owners of 4.7 Million GM and Foreign Cars to get Defective Airbags Fixed


DETROIT, MI – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging owners of some 4.7 million General Motors, Honda, Mazda, BMW and Nissan cars to have defective airbags made by Japanese auto parts company Takata Corp. replaced immediately. The full list of affected vehicles is below, reported Michigan Live.

NHTSA began a probe of the faulty airbags in June. According to the International Business Times, the airbags could rupture and spray pieces of metal into the driver and front-seat passenger in an accident.

NHTSA said it expects areas where there have already been regional recalls for the airbags, including Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii, to be most affected.

Consumers who are uncertain whether their vehicle is affected can search their car’s VIN number at www.safecar.gov. Most of the affected cars are in the early-to-mid 2000s model years.

Based in Tokyo, Takata manufactures seat belts, airbags, steering wheels, interior trims, and child restraint systems at 56 plants in 20 countries. The company had $5.2 billion in annual sales in its most recent fiscal year, ended March 31, 2014.

The list of affected cars follows.

Affected Vehicles, by Manufacturer , Impacted by CY 2013 and 2014 Recalls Involving Takata Airbags:

General Motors: 133,221 total number potentially affected vehicles
2002 – 2003 Buick LeSabre
2002 – 2003 Buick Rendezvous
2002 – 2003 Cadillac DeVille
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Impala
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
2002 – 2003 Chevrolet Venture
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy
2002 – 2003 GMC Envoy XL
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Bravada
2002 – 2003 Oldsmobile Silhouette
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Bonneville
2002 – 2003 Pontiac Montana

Toyota: 778,177 total number of vehicles potentially affected
2002 – 2004 Lexus SC
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla
2003 – 2004 Toyota Corolla Matrix
2002 – 2004 Toyota Sequoia
2003 – 2004 Toyota Tundra
2003 – 2004 Pontiac Vibe

Honda: 2,803,214 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 – 2007 Honda Accord (4 cyl)
2001 – 2002 Honda Accord (6 cyl)
2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
2003 – 2011 Honda Element
2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
2003 -2007 Honda Pilot
2006 Honda Ridgeline
2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
2002 -2003 Acura TL/CL

Nissan: 437,712 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2001 2003 Nissan Maxima
2001 – 2003 Nissan Pathfinder
2002 – 2003 Nissan Sentra
2001 – 2003 Infiniti I30/I35
2002 – 2003 Infiniti QX4
2003 Infiniti FX

Mazda: 18,050 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2003 – 2004 Mazda6
2004 Mazda RX-8

BMW: 573,935 total number of potentially affected vehicles
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sedan
2000 – 2006 3 Series Coupe
2000 – 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon
2000 – 2006 3 Series Convertible
2001 – 2006 M3 Coupe
2001 – 2006 M3 Convertible

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