Tag Archive | "NHTSA"

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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Exclusive: Takata, U.S. Regulator Can’t Say How Many Cars May Have Faulty Air Bags


DETROIT – At least 400,000 of the 4 million replacement inflators for defective Takata air bags will need to be replaced again in U.S. vehicles, sources at the Japanese safety equipment maker and the U.S. safety watchdog told Reuters.

Another 500,000 of those parts appear to be safe, according to U.S. safety regulators, leaving the safety of more than 3 million replacement parts in question.

But no one seems to be able to tell owners with any certainty just how many vehicles may still contain defective original or replacement parts.

Takata Corp in mid-May told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that nearly 34 million air bag inflators in the United States have the potential to rupture, sending spraying metal fragments inside vehicles. At least six deaths and hundreds of injuries are linked to ruptured inflators.

NHTSA previously had identified problems with about 17 million Takata inflators.

But it is not clear how many vehicles are equipped with defective inflators, although the number appears to be far fewer than 34 million.

An unspecified number of vehicles have Takata air bags on both driver and passenger sides – and in some cases, both may be defective. In other cases, repair parts installed in those vehicles also may be defective.

Since Takata’s May 18 disclosure, eight of 10 automakers that use Takata air bags have either expanded earlier recalls or initiated a new recall, and one other has said potentially defective parts are covered by previous recalls.

But the companies collectively have added only 3.3 million vehicles to the recall roster since May 18. Neither Takata nor NHTSA can explain the disparity.

The confusion extends to how many vehicles with replacement parts will need to go back to the dealer for more repairs. At least one automaker partly addressed the issue on Thursday.

In a recall expansion notice posted on Thursday by NHTSA, Honda Motor Co, one of Takata’s largest air bag customers, said an unspecified number of owners who had replacement parts installed since September 12, 2014, “received an inflator of a different design, and therefore are not included in this recall.”

Honda told Reuters that it has installed 1.2 million driver-side replacement air bags since Sept. 12. The kits were assembled by Takata, using inflators “of a different, contemporary design,” made by Takata and other suppliers, the carmaker said.

A NHTSA official told Reuters on Wednesday that it was up to Takata and the carmakers to “demonstrate to us that the remedy parts are safe for the life of the vehicle.” A priority now is to determine which of the replacement parts “are suspect and need to be replaced” again, the NHTSA official said.

Earlier in the week, when asked how consumers would know whether a replacement part would last for the life of the vehicle, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind acknowledged that the issue was “confusing” and told lawmakers that owners should check with car dealers’ service departments.

Takata and its contract suppliers have been gradually ramping up shipments of replacement parts to automakers.

An estimated 400,000 of the replacement driver-side inflators use a potentially defective propellant wafer that is shaped like a batwing. “Those will have to be replaced again,” the Takata source said. That estimate was confirmed by the NHTSA source.

This year, about 500,000 replacement parts were made for Takata by outside suppliers, including TRW Automotive Inc and Autoliv Inc, according to the Takata source. The replacement parts from TRW and Autoliv use a different chemical from the Takata-made inflators.

“I don’t think we have any reason to suspect any problems with products from other suppliers,” the NHTSA source said.

By year end, Takata expects to provide at least 1 million inflators a month, of which about 700,000 will be made by TRW, Autoliv and others.

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Congress Sets Hearing on Takata, Automakers Expand Recalls


Five automakers on Thursday widened recalls of cars and trucks with Takata Corp air bags and the U.S. Congress set a hearing next week on the safety issue that has been linked to six deaths, reported Reuters.

Takata last week complied with demands of U.S. safety regulators and doubled the vehicles to be involved in air bag recalls to 34 million, making it the largest recall in American history. The total number globally is more than 53 million vehicles.

The air bags are at risk of exploding with too much force and spewing metal fragments inside the car, regulators say. All six deaths linked to the problem were in Honda Motor Co Ltd vehicles.

The recalls announced on Thursday by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, BMW, Ford Motor Co and Mitsubishi Motors Corp are included in the figures issued last week by Takata and U.S. regulator the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Automakers, regulators and Takata have yet to identify the root cause of the problem.

A hearing billed as an update on the Takata safety issue will be held next Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.

U.S. Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, said on Thursday: “When an air bag – a device built to enhance motorist safety – is actually putting families in peril, we can’t wait years for a fix.”

U.S. lawmakers have complained that both Takata and NHTSA were mishandling the air bag safety issue. NHTSA has tried to show its bite under new head Mark Rosekind, who took the helm in January.

Rosekind will appear before the subcommittee next week. The panel will also hear from Takata Executive Vice President Kevin Kennedy, two leaders of automaker lobbying groups and the director of an independent testing organization.

Fiat Chrysler on Thursday expanded its recalls of vehicles with Takata air bags to about 5.22 million worldwide, involving the 2003 to 2011 model years. About 4.5 million of those vehicles are in the United States. Most of the vehicles have been involved in previous recall campaigns, FCA said.

Ford widened its recall of vehicles with Takata air bags to 1.51 million vehicles globally, including 1.38 million in the United States. The worldwide figure is up from 543,031 before last week’s announcements by NHTSA and Takata, Ford said.

Honda expanded its recall of vehicles with Takata air bag inflators by 350,000 in the United States and 340,000 in Japan.

Since 2008, Honda has recalled about 20 million vehicles worldwide with Takata air bag parts.

BMW said it is widening U.S. recalls of models with Takata air bags to 420,661 vehicles from 140,696.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp widened its recall of vehicles with Takata air bags to 82,784 in the U.S. market.

Nissan Motor Co told NHTSA that it will not expand its recall of U.S. recalls equipped with Takata air bags.

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Fiat Chrysler Answers NHTSA Recall Questions


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Monday said it has responded to detailed demands from federal auto safety regulators who want information about 20 recalls covering more than 10 million vehicles since 2013, reports The Detroit News.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last month it was ordering Fiat Chrysler to attend a July 2 hearing to explain its handling of auto safety recalls in an unprecedented public hearing. It gave the company until 5 p.m. Monday to respond to questions.

Since the demand for information, Fiat Chrysler has taken a more conciliatory tone with NHTSA.

“FCA US LLC has responded to NHTSA’s special order. We take seriously the safety and satisfaction of our customers and remain committed to continuously improving our products. FCA US strives in all cases to complete full investigations, develop robust remedies and execute recalls in a timely manner, as evidenced by our campaign completion rates,” the company said in a statement. “However, we continue to be open to additional measures that would further improve our performance.”

The 12-page order demanded all reports of fires, crashes and deaths; repair bulletins sent to dealers; and all lawsuits related to recalls.

Fiat Chrysler also had to provide a sworn statement under oath from a senior official attesting that a search for all documents had been made. It had to describe in detail what it has done to get as many recall repairs completed as possible. The company declined to make the document public, saying it was up to NHTSA.

The highly unusual action came after NHTSA has raised sweeping concerns about Fiat Chrysler’s conduct in auto safety issues, saying it has failed to recall enough vehicles, send notices to owners fast enough or ensure that dealers repair enough vehicles.

Last month, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said the firm wanted to work more closely with NHTSA.

The public hearing, at which the government and Fiat Chrysler can call witnesses, is the first for the auto safety agency since 2012, when it demanded that a small manufacturer of three-wheel vehicles fix its products. And it is the first ever to focus on a series of recalls by one automaker. Marchionne will not testify, he said last month.

After the hearing, NHTSA could order actions to speed fixes or force the automaker to buy back vehicles believed to be unsafe. It also could hand down tens of millions of dollars in fines. But Fiat Chrysler could appeal, and the agency would have to go to federal court to compel it to take action.

Fiat Chrysler could face harsh scrutiny and painful testimony. NHTSA is likely to call investigators to testify about problems in the 20 recall campaigns. Members of the public are likely to testify and could bring graphic photos of loved ones killed in crashes; they also will be able to submit written testimony.

It marks the latest battle between NHTSA and Fiat Chrysler over the last two years. Conflicts date to the government’s demand for the recall of 2.7 million Jeeps linked to more than 50 deaths due to gas tank fires that have occurred when SUVs are hit from behind. In recent months, the agency has questioned a growing number of Fiat Chrysler actions.

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Honda Expands Air Bag Recall After Takata Complies with U.S. Order


TOKYO – Honda Motor Co called back about 690,000 cars in Japan and the United States to replace air bag inflators made by Takata Corp after the Tokyo-based parts supplier last week agreed to comply with U.S. orders to expand some of its previous recalls, reports Reuters.

Honda, Japan’s third-biggest automaker, disclosed the recall in filings in Tokyo and Washington.

Of the recalls announced on Thursday, about 350,000 are of vehicles registered in the United States and 340,000 are in Japan, Honda said.

Honda had just expanded its Takata-related recalls by nearly 5 million cars earlier this month to about 20 million vehicles worldwide since 2008. The move came after its own investigations found two new problems with inflators it had retrieved for sampling. The root cause of those defects is unknown.

In Canada, Honda did not widen previous recalls involving just over 700,000 vehicles, but will issue fresh correspondence reminding consumers of the safety issue, the company’s Canadian branch said on Thursday.

Takata is at the center of a global recall of tens of millions of cars for potentially deadly air bag inflators that could deploy with too much force and spray metal fragments inside vehicles. Regulators have linked six deaths to the component so far, all on Honda’s cars.

After months of resisting, Takata last week agreed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to roughly double its U.S.-based recall to 34 million vehicles spanning 11 automakers, including more models and years of production.

Honda said the latest recall in Japan includes about 80,000 cars fitted with driver-side air bag inflators that had been part of a previous recall, but which had not yet been collected.

Another 260,000 cars would be added to replace passenger-side air bag inflators in Japan, with more to follow overseas, Honda said.

The automaker will source replacement inflators for the additional recalls from Takata, as well as rivals Autoliv Inc, TRW Automotive [TRWTA.UL], and Daicel Corp, it said. Earlier this year, Michigan-based TRW was acquired by Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen.

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AutoAp Launches Recall Management Service


BEAVERTON, Ore.— AutoAp, a mobile-focused automotive software development company, has announced the launch of its Dealer Recall Management (DRM) service, an automated method providing automotive retailers daily recall updates for new and used vehicle inventory.

Before the DRM service, dealers would need to manually check their entire vehicle inventory for recall status daily, relying on government and manufacturer websites for their information, officials said. However, this information is often inaccurate, incomplete or not up-to-date. A recent review of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) data base by AutoAp found that up to 30% of safety recalls in their database had one or more errors. As a result, dealers are often unaware that they have vehicles on their lots with open recalls needing repair and can unwittingly sell those to consumers.

The number of vehicle safety recalls has soared in recent years. In 2013, there were approximately 36 million vehicles on the road with open recalls. More than 63 million vehicles were affected by safety recalls in 2014 — representing 25% of all U.S. registered vehicles — and this number is expected to climb even higher this year.

“Recalls have dominated the news headlines in the past year, as they go up in number and attract high-profile lawsuits,” said Mark Paul, CEO of AutoAp. “No dealer I know wants to knowingly sell a vehicle with an open safety recall. Doing so would create a negative customer experience and can open dealers to liability.

“With the DRM service, dealers can cost-effectively monitor their inventory for open recalls and know the safety recall status of their entire inventory — every day, increasing their customers’ safety and reducing their liability,” he added. “Our Dynamic Recall Management service also enables them to generate warranty revenue and can help optimize service and warranty repair operations.”

AutoAp’s DRMs corrects the errors in NHTSA’s data through a proprietary software process and easily interfaces with dealer inventory software to identify vehicles that face recalls. The service also provides daily recall status reports on all vehicles, consumer reports dealers can use to communicate and document the vehicle recall status to consumers, and an easy-to-use dashboard that reduces the time to verify the safety recall status of all their cars and trucks.

For dealers, monitoring the safety recall status of every vehicle, every day would require significant staff time and could cost dealerships up to $40,000 or more, annually. With the DRM service, the entire process can be reduced to less than 15 minutes per day and at a fraction of the cost.

In addition, dealers can use the DRM service to create revenue opportunities and to increase customer comfort level with vehicle purchases with consumer reporting. Recall warranty work is usually covered by the manufacturers and provides franchised auto retailers with profitable repair work. In addition, AutoAp provides dealers with in-store and online “Safety Recall Certified” marketing assets to help them differentiate themselves, showing that their vehicles are checked every day for safety recalls. This helps give shoppers peace of mind when making a vehicle purchase.

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