Tag Archive | "recalls"

GM Receives 120 Claims Tied to Ignition-Switch Defect

In its first eight days, General Motors Co.’s compensation program has received about 120 claims, more than half of which involved deaths allegedly linked to GM cars that were recalled earlier this year to fix an ignition-switch defect, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer hired by GM to oversee the program, said of the claims filed so far, about 65 were reported by families who say the victims were killed in accidents involving cars that were subject to the 2.6-million-car recall.

Another dozen claims involved catastrophic injuries and the remaining are from people who were hospitalized, Mr. Feinberg added.

“We are just beginning now to review the claims and the documentation, to see whether they are eligible,” Mr. Feinberg said Friday. “It will be well after Labor Day before we begin to draw some conclusions,” he added. “We are encouraged by the early filings. It’s a good sign that owners are aware of the program and understand the program.”

The closing date to file isn’t until the end of the year.

The initial tally raises questions about whether GM has underestimated the number of deaths linked to the defect, which GM knew about for more than a decade but didn’t recall the cars to fix until February.

The company attributes at least 54 crashes and 13 deaths to faulty ignition-switches, which can abruptly slip out of the “on” position, stall the car and disable the air bags.

GM’s compensation plan will offer payouts for any accident in which the cars’ air bags failed to deploy. The checks could range from $20,000 to several million dollars to any driver, passenger, pedestrian or occupant of another vehicle, who can show they were hurt in a crash involving GM cars recalled this year for the defective ignition switch.

A death would automatically be awarded $1 million for pain and suffering above any other payments.

The program has no overall dollar limit, but a key condition is claimants must show via police or other reports a vehicle’s air bag didn’t deploy in the crash.

Any out-of-court death settlements connected to ignition-switch litigation can be refiled.

Mr. Feinberg said that once a victim’s application is deemed eligible, and the documentation is completed, the fund will issue a payment within 90 days for simple cases and 180 days for more complicated ones.

Meantime, GM’s troubles with safety recalls resurfaced this week, with more ignition-key trouble and a group of sport-utility vehicles requiring fixes to power-window switches because they might catch on fire. GM is telling customers to park the SUVs outside until they are repaired.

The power-window recall involves about 189,000 vehicles in North America, mainly from the 2006 and 2007 model years. Models affected include the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Isuzu Ascender and Saab.

GM also announced the recall of 202,115 Saturn VUEs because the ignition key can possibly be removed when the vehicle isn’t in the off position.

GM also recalled 48,059 2013 Cadillac ATS four-door sedans and 2013 Buick Encore vehicles because of lap-belt issues; 14,940 2014-2015 Chevrolet Impala sedans because of potential problems with the front-console storage compartment; 1,968 2009-2010 Chevrolet Aveo and 2009 Pontiac G3 vehicles for a brake-fluid issue; and 1,919 2014 Chevrolet Spark for potential bolt issues.

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VW Recalls 189,000 SUVs in North America for Potential Stalling

Volkswagen AG said on Saturday it is recalling 189,490 Tiguan small sport utility vehicles in North America for potential stalling issues, reported Reuters.

The German automaker said gas bubbles may form in the fuel system in the affected vehicles from model years 2009 through 2014 when winterized fuel with high vapor pressures is used in warmer areas or during months with higher temperatures.

That could lead to reduced fuel pump performance and pressure, potentially resulting in vehicle stalling and could lead to an accident.

VW said no accident or injuries related to the issue have been reported.

Dealers will install revised electronic control module software on all affected vehicles at no cost. The recall is expected to begin later this month, a spokeswoman said.

Of the affected vehicles, 151,389 were sold in the United States and 38,101 in Canada, a spokeswoman said. No other markets are affected by the recall, she said.

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Hyundai Issues Third Recall in One Week

After recalling 889,000 Sonatas a few days ago, the company added another 420,000 vehicles to its recall list, including the Sonata again, for brake, electrical and rust issues, The Detroit Bureau.

The South Korean maker is taking back 225,000 Santa Fe crossovers in 20 cold weather states. The 2001 to 2006 model year vehicles may have rusted coil springs that could fracture and puncture a tire. The springs impacted are in states that use salt on their roads in the winter.

For the third time, the company is recalling Sonatas. This time, 133,000 2011 Sonatas may be leaking brake fluid, which could cause the car to take longer to stop and perhaps end up in a collision.

About 61,000 Veracruz crossovers from the 2007 to 2012 model years are coming back due to an oil leak that may damage the alternator and the vehicle’s charging system, which could result in a full loss of power, increasing the risk of a crash, the NHTSA said. No injuries have been reported related to these problems.

On Thursday, the NHTSA reported that because of a potentially defective transmission-shift cable, about 883,000 Sonata sedans from model years 2011 to 2014 were recalled. Prior to that, it recalled 5,700 2015 Sonatas due to brake problems. In fact, it asked owners to park the vehicles until the repair can be made.

The rash of recalls are somewhat surprising given the company’s performance on recent quality surveys, such as the J.D. Power & Associates Initial Quality Survey (IQS) and Automotive Performance Execution and Layout (APEAL) survey.

The maker is consistently ranked at or near the top of each category in which it has a vehicle.

In the IQS, Hyundai came in fourth overall, and was the highest-ranked of all mainstream makers, beating out such familiar quality leaders as Toyota and Honda. And the little Hyundai Accent, at the other end of the price spectrum from the most problem-free vehicle, the Porsche Panamera, was the second most problem-free vehicle, the Power study found.

In fact, the Sonata was second in the midsize car category this year behind the Chevrolet Malibu and ahead of the Camry. However, stellar results in these polls have repeatedly shown a disconnect between recalls, especially those handled well, from customer satisfaction and quality perceptions.

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Harley-Davidson Recalls Bikes for Ignition Switch Problem

Ignition switch problems that have plagued General Motors and Chrysler have now turned up in the motorcycle business, reported Michigan Live.

Harley-Davidson is recalling more than 4,500 FXDL Dyna Low Rider bikes worldwide because engine vibration can turn the switches from “on” to “accessory.”

The recall covers motorcycles from the 2014 ½ model year, including more than 3,300 in the U.S. If the motorcycles have been modified to rev higher than 5,600 RPMs, an engine mount bracket can vibrate excessively, causing the problem.

If the switch goes to “accessory,” the engine can shut off while being driven and potentially cause a crash. The company said there have been no crashes or injuries reported from the problem.

Dealers will replace the bracket assembly and ignition switch knob for free. Harley began notifying owners in late July.

Harley said in documents posted Friday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the motorcycles are limited at the factory to 5,600 RPMs, but Harley offers performance calibrations that let the engine rev higher than the limit. If the bikes hit 5,800 RPMs, the top engine mount bracket can vibrate too much and cause the ignition switches to malfunction.

The company said it began looking into the problem after its service department discovered that an ignition switch slipped out of the “on” position in testing. Harley found four warranty claims and complaints about the problem, all in bikes with non-Harley exhaust systems.

The Milwaukee company’s recall comes after General Motors recalled 17.3 million vehicles to fix problems with ignition switches that can cause engine stalling. Chrysler has recalled another 1.7 million for the same problem. So far this year the auto industry has recalled more than 40 million vehicles, passing the old full-year record of 30.8 million set in 2004.

Federal safety regulators in June began a broad investigation of ignition-switch and air-bag problems across the auto industry. That investigation is still open, although the agency wouldn’t say if more automakers could be affected.

Harley said it issued the recall independently, and it has nothing to do with ignition switch problems in the auto industry or the NHTSA investigation.

The investigation and recalls come after GM bungled an ignition-switch recall of older small cars. GM acknowledged that it knew of the ignition problem for more than a decade but failed to recall the cars until earlier this year, when it recalled 2.6 million small cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt. Subsequent safety reviews caused GM to recall millions more vehicles for faulty switches.

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KBB: Car Shoppers Confident in ‘New’ GM

IRVINE, Calif. — Fifty percent of new-car shoppers think GM is a different company today compared to five years ago, while only 24% of new-car shoppers believe the ‘old’ GM still exists, reports Kelley Blue Book.

“Despite challenges with the recall announcements, General Motors CEO Mary Barra has successfully positioned the brand in a positive light, as evidenced by Kelley Blue Book’s survey results showing half of new-car shoppers think GM has changed in recent years,” said Tony Lim, director of research for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. “By reinforcing the message of the ‘new’ GM and distancing itself from the ‘old,’ Barra can continue to effectively distinguish the company from its past.”

The survey data also revealed more than a quarter of new-car shoppers think GM is being proactive and transparent regarding the recalls.

“GM initiated the ignition switch recall versus having it ordered by the government, and the company’s proactive stance taken in the areas of vehicle safety oversight and victim compensation has enhanced the automaker’s image despite the high number of recalled models,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com. “GM is suggesting to consumers it is more transparent about quality and the safety of its owners.”

However, U.S. car buyers continue to question GM’s product quality, as the survey indicates mixed feelings regarding the manufacturer’s ability to make more reliable vehicles today than it did five years ago. Only 39% of surveyed new-car shoppers think that GM’s current products are more reliable when compared to five years ago.

“High-profile recalls will put pressure on views of quality and reliability for any brand, and while many consumers think GM is a different company today, inevitably perceptions of product unreliability still exist,” said Lim. “GM can overcome these challenges and change perceptions by focusing efforts on new-vehicle launches and commitment to innovative in-vehicle technology.”

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Chrysler Recalls Fiat 500L on Knee Air Bag Issue

Chrysler Group LLC will recall about 29,500 Fiat 500L compact cars because knee air bags may not work properly if a driver is not wearing a seat belt, the company said on Wednesday, reported Reuters.

Testing by Chrysler and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that the driver’s knee air bag may not deploy in the proper position to protect fully the knees of an unbelted driver, a company spokesman said.

Chrysler, a unit of Fiat SpA, said it is not aware of any injuries related to the issue.

Most of the cars recalled are registered in the United States, and 4,000 in Canada.

The recall will affect Fiat 500L cars from the 2014 and 2015 model years.

Driver’s knee air bags are standard equipment in the 5000L.

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