Tag Archive | "recalls"

Chrysler Recalls 895,000 S.U.V.s for Fire Risk in Vanity Mirrors

Following an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Chrysler is recalling almost 895,000 sport utility vehicles because a wiring problem in the vanity mirror can cause a fire, the automaker said in a report posted Friday on the safety agency’s website, reported The New York Times.

The action covers 2011-14 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango models, including about 651,000 in the United States, 45,700 in Canada, 23,000 in Mexico and 175,000 outside North America.

Chrysler said that a sun visor screw could penetrate a wire for the vanity light, causing a short circuit that could lead to a fire. The automaker said it discovered the problem in 2011 at its Detroit assembly plant, following complaints from owners about “sun visor thermal damage.” It concluded that the wire was penetrated when workers at the assembly plant were repairing incorrectly installed headliners and had to remove the visor. To correct the problem, Chrysler began making a series of changes to the manufacturing process, the last one early in 2013, “to ensure a repair operation was more robust.” The company said it also discovered problems when repairs to the visor or headliner had been performed at dealerships.

In August 2013, federal regulators began an investigation, responding to owner complaints about fires near the vanity mirror. The investigation was upgraded last January to a more serious engineering analysis after N.H.T.S.A. received 41 complaints about the problem and 38 reports of fires, including three with injuries. Many of the fires were minor and involved smoldering, but some owners reported more serious problems. “In some reports the fire spread to the front seats and/or door panels of the vehicle. In one report the sunroof was damaged, causing the glass to shatter,” the agency reported.

In a March 19 letter, Chrysler told the agency that its internal investigation had concluded that the problem was extremely limited and resulted in little damage. The automaker also said that it had received no reports of injuries and that “there is no unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.”

The agency, however, pushed its case and the automaker agreed to the recall.

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Ford Says 500,000 Vehicles Under NHTSA Investigation

Ford Motor Co said about 500,000 of its vehicles were being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for steering problems, reported Reuters.

The vehicles include Ford’s Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis and Marauder from model years 2004 to 2007, a statement on the NHTSA website said.

The NHTSA is investigating an issue related to a heat shield in Ford cars that can rust, dislodge and cause the steering to jam.

The safety regulator said it had received five complaints and was aware of one injury related to the problem.

The company will cooperate with the NHTSA investigation, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker told Reuters in an email.

Earlier in the day, Chrysler Group LLC said it would recall about 900,000 sport utility vehicles (SUVs), its largest recall this year.

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Auto Shops Try to Keep Up with Rising Sales, Recalls

The wave of record-breaking recalls is keeping dealership service shops humming — and some dealers think it will only get busier heading into the fall, reported The Detroit News.

Service departments at dealerships across multiple brands are feeling the rush as U.S. auto sales grow and bring in new business, at the same time millions of vehicles have been called back for safety reasons.

To accommodate new-car buyers and keep up with demand created by recalls, some dealerships are expanding service hours or staff. Some companies such as Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. offer free maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations for a few years as part of buying or leasing a new vehicle, adding to service work.

One Metro Detroit Ford dealership said it is booking customers’ recall repairs into December because the shop is so busy.

GM alone has recalled 29 million vehicles this year — the Detroit automaker recalled 8.45 million last Monday alone — and industry recalls have risen to around 39 million.

“There are so many recalls that the general public is so confused,” said Pete Salich, service manager for Joe Lunghamer Chevrolet in Waterford Township. “They don’t know if their car is part of the recall or not.”

Salich said he expects the dealership’s service department will only get busier this summer. He said revenue is already “quite a bit ahead” of where it was the same time last year.

Salich said the dealership has fixed at least 300 ignition switches on recalled GM vehicles, but he’s still got “quite a stack” of more than 100 to complete. He’s also waiting for big supplies of parts to fix a seat belt issue on the Chevrolet Traverse and axles for the Chevrolet Cruze recall.

GM said more than 296,000 ignition switches had been fixed as of June 25, or about 11 percent of the 2.59 million older cars called back earlier this year for defective parts.

Lunghamer Chevy may extend hours for recall repairs if it has demand and parts. Some service staffers have been picking up a few extra hours, and he and a few other employees are spending much more time on the phone answering customers’ questions.

“The days are a lot more hectic than they used to be,” Salich said.

For now, the recall work is not backing up regular maintenance appointments, Salich and other dealers say.

Joe Criscuolo, parts and service director at Spartan Toyota in Lansing, said receipts in his service department have grown 22 percent since 2012.

Part of the bump has come from Toyota’s program that gives those buying or leasing a new car five free services in the first two years or 25,000 miles of ownership. That program debuted in August 2011. With more demand, Spartan Toyota is looking to add two technicians.

“When the customer’s getting free maintenance, where’s the customer going to go?” Criscuolo said.

New-car dealers in the U.S. employed 262,896 service technicians in 2013, up from 254,200 in 2012, according to a National Automobile Dealers Association study. Sales in the service, parts and body shop at new-car dealers increased 4.8 percent in 2013.

Some Toyota dealers, including Spartan Toyota, said they had technicians working Sundays and evenings during Toyota’s sudden acceleration recall.

Bill Fox is a partner in Fox Dealerships Inc., which includes four dealerships in upstate New York: Honda; Toyota/Subaru; Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram; and Chevrolet. He said he has not had to hire additional people because of the recalls. Fox said he just hasn’t gotten enough ignition switches to expand hours.

“If need be, we’d run overtime,” he said.

AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet said in a recent statement he had concerns GM recall repairs could be “significantly backlogged” with only 4,300 dealers to do them. He said days delayed fixing vehicles can “equal lives lost.”

Darbelnet said many consumers already use independent shops — totaling more than 80,000 in the U.S. — and GM could look to work with those shops for “simpler recalls, thus allowing GM dealers to focus on the more critical recall work.”

GM spokeswoman Ryndee Carney wrote in an email, “Our dealers are doing an outstanding job of taking care of customers who are impacted by the ignition recall (and other recent recalls). They are performing repairs as soon as they receive replacement parts and working with customers individually to minimize any inconvenience.”

GM is allowing dealers some discretion to speed repairs: If an ignition switch part is ordered by vehicle identification number for a certain customer, and that customer hasn’t brought the car in, then that switch can be used to fix a different car.

The automaker also has launched a promotion for all U.S. dealers that includes a $250 credit to an online gift store if they install by today at least 90 percent of ignition switch replacements shipped to them in June.

“We want to encourage dealers to continue to follow up with customers and do everything possible to get vehicles that are part of the ignition switch recall repaired as fast as possible,” Carney said in an email.

Fox Dealerships’ fixed operations director Bob May said in more than 30 years he’s never seen an “incentive to get recalls done quick.”

GM also will send emails in the next few weeks to “a subset of owners” in the ignition switch recall. The company wants to encourage owners who have not contacted a dealer to visit www.gmignitionupdate.com to order parts.

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CNW: Recalls Impact Used-Car Sales in June

Bandon, OR —Total June used-car sales were up 0.53% vs. a year ago and 2.8% vs. May, according to CNW Research. However, concerns over buying a used General Motors and other recalled vehicles convinced many shoppers to seek out Asian and European models.

In fact, share of the used-car market for the Detroit Big Three slipped 1.3% vs. a year ago and 1.4% vs. May, according to CNW’s Art Spinella.

“Consumers are continuing to lean toward passenger cars rather than trucks, with share of cars of total sales jumping 1.6% vs. May of this year,” Spinella noted. “This is contrary to data vs. a year ago. Car share fell 15.4%.”

Franchised dealers were off about 5.7% compare to a year ago but were able to make a near 2% gain over May. Sales for independent dealers fell 5.36% vs. a year ago. However, independent dealers were also able to improve their sales by 2.11% vs. May.

Private party sales experienced a healthy 16.9% gain compared to June 2013, while increasing 4.46% from May of this year. Based on transaction prices, the total value of all used-car sales increased 17.3% over last year and 5% from May.

“Average transaction prices are up a comfortable 16.7% over a year ago as fresher and newer vehicles begin to enter the used-car market,” Spinella noted. “The number of total shoppers for a used vehicle in June was down 7.6% for franchised dealers, more than 29% for independent dealers and 5.6% for private party sales.”

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GM Announces Six New Recalls Covering 8.4 Million Vehicles

General Motors Co.’s ignition switch troubles continue to escalate, reported Michigan Live.

The Detroit-based automaker today announced six new recall campaigns covering 8.4 million vehicles globally, including two recalls of 8.2 million due to “unintended ignition key rotation.”

The announcement comes hours after attorney Kenneth Feinberg released the terms of a compensation program for victims of GM’s first announced ignition switch recall that started in February due to faulty ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths and dozens of crashes.

GM is aware of seven crashes, eight injuries and three fatalities as part of the newest recalls. The fatal crashes occurred in older model full-size sedans being recalled for inadvertent ignition key rotation. There is no conclusive evidence that the defect condition caused those crashes, according to GM.

Vehicles involved in the two newest ignition switch recalls include nine models ranging from the 1997-2014 model years.

The largest of the new ignition switch recalls covers more than 7.6 million vehicles, including 6.8 million in the U.S. Vehicles included are the 1997-2005 Chevrolet Malibu; 1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrique; 1999-2004 Oldsmobile Alero; 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am; 2000-2005 Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo; and 2004-2008 Pontiac Grand Prix.

The other includes roughly 616,000 Cadillac models, including more than 554,000 in the U.S. Included are the 2003-2014 Cadillac CTS and 2004-2006 Cadillac SRX cars.

GM spokesman Alan Adler said the newest recalls are unrelated to the ignition switch recalls that started in February, which Feinberg announced the compensation program for earlier today.

In 2014, GM has now recalled roughly 29 million vehicles globally, including nearly 25.7 million in the U.S.

The plethora of recalls this year for GM are due to the company’s exhaustive inspection efforts following the well-publicized ignition switch recall that has been linked to at least 13 deaths.

“We undertook what I believe is the most comprehensive safety review in the history of our company because nothing is more important than the safety of our customers,” said GM CEO Mary Barra, in a statement. “Our customers deserve more than we delivered in these vehicles. That has hardened my resolve to set a new industry standard for vehicle safety, quality and excellence.”

As part of the recalls announced today, GM increased its expected recall expenses for the second quarter from $700 million to $1.2 billion. That’s in addition to a $1.3 billion hit in the first quarter due to recalls.

The four other recalls announced Monday include 18 vehicles ranging from the 2005-2014 model years for a variety of reasons.

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GM’s Barra Says More Recalls Possible as Automaker Reviews Data

General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra said on Thursday more recalls are possible as the No. 1 U.S. automaker grapples with a series of safety problems that have prompted the recall of 20 million cars, reported Reuters.

Barra’s comments in an interview with NBC came a day after GM issued its latest in a string of recalls, this one for 33,000 Chevrolet Cruze sedans with potentially defective air bags made by troubled Japanese supplier Takata Corp.

Asked if the company would issue more recalls, Barra said, “It’s possible.”

“We’re going to continue to look at the data that we get, and we’re going to take the action that we need,” she told NBC’s “Today” show. “If we find an issue, we’re going to deal with it.”

Barra, a 30-year GM veteran, has become the public face of the once-bankrupt automaker as it struggles to address safety issues that have plagued the company since early this year. GM has issued 44 recalls covering about 20 million vehicles globally so far in 2014.

One of them, a recall of older-model Chevrolet Cobalt and other GM small cars with faulty ignition switches linked to the deaths of 13 people, has generated the most scrutiny, including congressional hearings and wide media coverage.

GM is finalizing a compensation program for victims of that recall aimed at resolving injury and death cases out of court that may extend well beyond those 13 deaths.

“We want every single person who either lost a loved one or has a serious physical injury to be a part of that program,” Barra told NBC during the interview in Detroit.

Asked if GM had fired everyone it was going to fire in connection to the Cobalt recall over the defective switches, Barra said, “Yes, I believe we have.”

“We’ve addressed the issue,” she added.

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