Tag Archive | "recall"

GM Recalls 2010 Cobalts for Wiring Flaw

General Motors is recalling 73,424 Chevrolet Cobalts for misrouted wiring that can prevent a driver’s side airbag from deploying during a crash, reports Automotive News.

The recall covers 2010 Cobalts — 59,474 in the U.S. and 13,950 in Canada.

Affected vehicles were built with improper side impact sensor wire routing in the driver’s side front door, GM said in an emailed statement. The misrouted wire can be chafed by contact with the driver’s side window being rolled up and down.

The driver’s side roof rail airbag can fail to deploy if the window is down and the wire short circuits, GM said in the statement. If the window is rolled back up and the engine restarted, the circuit will reconnect. However, the short circuit can reoccur if the window is rolled down again.

GM is aware of one crash resulting in injury that may be linked to the defect. The seriousness of this injury is not yet clear.

The wiring recall is unrelated to last year’s ignition switch recall of more than 2.6 million vehicles, including the 2010 Cobalt, GM said in the statement.

The faulty ignition switches, which can be jostled out of the run position and cut power to the engine and power steering, have been linked to 124 deaths and at least 274 injuries, 17 of which were serious.

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G.M. Chief Flatly Dismisses a Merger Overture From Fiat Chrysler

DETROIT — Mary T. Barra, the chief executive of General Motors, on Tuesday firmly rejected the idea that the company could benefit from a combination with a rival automaker like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which tried in March to start merger talks with G.M., reports The New York Times.

In remarks made before G.M.’s annual shareholders meeting here, Ms. Barra said the company was committed to remaining independent and continuing its comeback from bankruptcy and a government bailout in 2009.

Yet even as Ms. Barra tried to focus attention on G.M.’s new products and strategic goals, she was dogged by questions about an unwanted merger proposal, as well as probable criminal charges against the company over its long-delayed recall last year of defective small cars linked to at least 111 deaths.

In her strongest comments to date on a potential merger, Ms. Barra said G.M. had no interest in pursuing a deal with Fiat Chrysler, despite a personal appeal made by its chief executive, Sergio Marchionne.

“There was an email that was very much vetted by our management and our board,” Ms. Barra said. “After we reviewed that, we were committed to our plan.”

G.M.’s plan, she said, was to continue to build brands, market share and international operations on its own. Adding a partner is not necessary for one of the world’s biggest auto companies, she said.

“We have scale, and we’re leveraging that scale,” she said. “For the last couple of years, we have really been merging with ourselves.”

G.M. is also trying to move beyond a difficult 2014, in which it recalled about 30 million vehicles in the United States, including 2.6 million small cars with faulty ignition switches that can cause sudden loss in engine power and disable airbags.

Ms. Barra declined to say much about a Justice Department investigation, which is expected to result in a large fine and criminal charges for G.M., according to people with knowledge of the inquiry.

She said that she met with federal investigators last year, and that the company was cooperating fully with the government.

“It is their timeline,” Ms. Barra said. “We are going to continue to cooperate to the fullest extent we can, but beyond that I think anything else is pure speculation.”

As the nation’s biggest automaker, G.M. is accustomed to scrutiny. But last year’s safety crisis intensified the attention.

Now just as G.M. is beginning to regain momentum in the marketplace, its long-term prospects have been clouded by Mr. Marchionne’s outspoken call for industry consolidation.

While Mr. Marchionne has not spoken about G.M. publicly, he suggested in his email to Ms. Barra that a combination of their two companies would save billions of dollars in costs and provide better returns to shareholders.

Ms. Barra bluntly rejected that notion on Tuesday, saying G.M. would sell 10 million vehicles worldwide this year and did not need a partner to improve profits and become more efficient.

“The best thing we can do is to be totally focused on the G.M. shareholder and to execute our plan,” she said.

G.M.’s plan hinges on expanding the Chevrolet and Cadillac brands, and continuing to restructure its chronically unprofitable European operations. Ms. Barra also emphasized that G.M. was pouring more resources into new technology and increasing its commitment to vehicle safety.

Industry analysts are skeptical that a merger would help G.M. One analyst, Brian Johnson of Barclays Capital, said in a research note that a combination with Fiat Chrysler would be a “bad idea,” even though it could temporarily drive up G.M.’s stock price, which has languished despite the company’s commitment in March to a $5 billion stock buyback.

Mr. Johnson pointed out that automakers had had little success in big mergers and alliances, notwithstanding Fiat’s acquisition of Chrysler last year.

He also noted that G.M.’s brands and products overlapped with Fiat Chrysler’s, and that any savings on shared parts and vehicle platforms might take years to achieve. In addition, management of each company could struggle to integrate with the other, as happened when the German automaker Daimler-Benz acquired Chrysler in the late 1990s.

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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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GM Recalls Heavy Duty Trucks with Takata Air Bags

General Motors Co is recalling about 375,000 heavy duty pickup trucks equipped with passenger-side air bag inflators made by Takata Corp, the U.S. automaker said, reported Reuters.

The trucks are 2007 and 2008 model Chevrolet Silverados and GM Sierras.

Subaru will expand its recall of 2004 and 2005 model Impreza compact cars with Takata air bags to about 80,000 from 20,000, the unit of Japan-based Fuji Heavy Industries also said on Friday.

Both companies said they have received no reports of inadvertent deployments of air bags in the vehicles.

The latest actions follow an agreement last week between Takata and U.S. safety regulators to expand the recalls of vehicles with potentially faulty Takata air bag inflators.

The inflators have exploded with too much force, sending shrapnel into the vehicles. Six people have been killed, all of them in Honda Motor Co cars.

Twelve incorrect deployments of Takata air bags have occurred in Toyota and Honda vehicles in Japan since 2011, Nikkei reported on Friday, citing a Japanese transport ministry official. No injuries were reported in these incidents.

Takata air bags have been the subject of U.S. Congressional hearings held late last year. Another hearing, before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, will be held next Tuesday.

On Thursday, five automakers expanded recalls by several million vehicles with Takata air bags.

No root cause for the defect has been found.

Takata managers want the automakers to share some of the blame for the malfunctioning air bags, sources told Reuters this week, as well as some of the financial burden.

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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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