Auto News and Auto Recall News by Date

3rd Ford Escape Recall in Less Than Two Months

9/10/2012  News Source: Huffington Post.   by: AP - Tom Krisher
Ford is recalling 7,600 new Escapes to fix coolant leaks that can cause engines to overheat or catch fire.

The recall affects 2013 models with 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines. Plugs in the engine may not have been installed properly and can fall out while the motor is running. Coolant can leak and cause engines to overheat.

It's the third recall in less than two months for the completely redesigned SUV, which also has had problems with fuel lines and carpet padding. In July, the company recalled 11,500 Escapes to fix lines that can crack, leak and cause fires. That same month, Ford said it would recall more than 10,000 of the vehicles to fix carpet padding that can interfere with braking.

Three recalls in two months shows there are quality problems with the new vehicle, said Clarence Ditlow, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer group.
Read full story from Huffington Post.

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Is $30,000 Cheap? Car Prices Rising

9/8/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
The average price that car shoppers paid for new vehicles totaled $30,274 in August, which is $428 or 1.4% higher than a year earlier, according to estimates.

The auto industry research and forecasting company said the year-to-year increase bodes well for car makers.

"Consumers preferences concentrated on the two extreme ends of the segments in August: small cars and large trucks both enjoyed market share gains - a trend that more or less resulted in a wash from the previous month." said Jesse Toprak, an analyst with TrueCar.

Toprak also said lower spending on incentives like discounted financing and cash-back awards also helped drive prices upward. TrueCar estimated the average incentive for cars and light trucks was $2,457 in August, a decrease of $158 or 6% from a year ago and down $49 or 2% from July.

The charts in the full story show TrueCar’s estimates of average transaction prices and incentives for the top car makers.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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Record Labor Day gas prices won't last

9/1/2012  News Source: CNN Money   by: Chris Isidore
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Gas prices are higher than they've been going into any other Labor Day weekend on record, but experts predict some relief at the pump is coming fairly soon.

According to AAA, the national average price of regular gas jumped 9.4% in August -- the biggest percentage gain in more than three years.

It wasn't just refinery issues lifting pump prices, though. Global issues helped to lift oil futures about 7% over the last month. Worries about the European sovereign debt crisis began to ease.

A number of factors are likely to lower gas prices fairly soon. The damage from Hurricane Isaac is not believed to be serious, which should allow Gulf Coast refineries to get back to work quickly. The end of the summer blend of gasoline on Sept. 15 could bring prices down 20 cents a gallon over the next month or so.
Read full story from CNN Money

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License Plate Scanners ... Big Brother is Watching

8/27/2012  News Source:   by: Cyrus Farivar
Tiburon, CA is one of the first towns in the country to mount automated license plate readers (LPRs) at its city bordersâ€"the only two roads going in and out of town. Effectively, that means the cops know the date and time of every car coming and going.

Today, tens of thousands of LPRs are being used by law enforcement agencies all over the country. The scanners can read 60 license plates per second, then match observed plates against a "hot list" of wanted vehicles, stolen cars, or criminal suspects. The LPRs, with their sleek cylindrical design, look similar to a surveillance camera or a speed camera.

License plates, dates, times, and locations of all cars seen are kept in law enforcement databases for months or even years at a time. In the worst case, the New York State Police keeps all of its LPR data indefinitely. No universal standard governs how long data can or should be retained.

Not surprisingly, the expanded use of LPRs has drawn the ire of privacy watchdogs. In late July 2012, the American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliates sent requests to local police departments and state agencies across 38 states to request information on how LPRs are used.

Below is a snapshot of the database after capturing a car's license plate.
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U.S. auto efficiency rules of 54.5 MPG by 2025

8/24/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Reuters
WASHINGTON, Aug 22 -The U.S. government said on Wednesday it plans to complete rules "soon" that significantly boost automobile efficiency, despite calls from some Republicans for further evaluation of the regulations.

The Obama administration had planned to finalize standards last week that would require companies to reach an average fuel efficiency across their U.S. fleets of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, but the release of the regulations was delayed.

If implemented as proposed, the rules would be a big jump from current standards that require auto makers to achieve 35.5 mpg by 2016.

While declining to provide a specific timeline, the Transportation Department stressed the rules are moving forward.

"The rule is still undergoing interagency review and we expect that process to be completed soon," department spokeswoman Lynda Tran said in a statement.
Read full story from Automotive News

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Gas prices set record as summer draws to a close

8/20/2012  News Source: The Seattle Times   by: Associated Press
The price of gasoline is setting a record as the summer draws to a close.

AAA says drivers paid an average of $3.72 per gallon Monday, which is the highest price on record for Aug. 20. The auto club says more daily highs are likely over the next few weeks.

The national average has risen nearly 12 percent since July 1 because of higher oil prices, and some problems with refineries and pipelines. But it has stabilized over the past few days and many analysts still expect the price of gas to fall after Labor Day.
Read full story from The Seattle Times

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GM Recalls 249,260 SUVs for Fire Hazard

8/18/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
General Motors Co. is recalling 249,260 sport-utility vehicles from the 2006 and 2007 model years to fix an electrical malady that could lead to fires in the vehicles’ doors.

The recall affects a number of models and brands built on the GMT 360 midsize truck platform, including the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Trailblazer EXT and GMC Envoy and Envoy XL, Buick Rainier, Saab 9-7x, and Isuzu Ascender.

In a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the car maker said fluid can seep inside the driver’s door and into an electronic module that is part of the power-window and locking system. The moisture in the door could cause corrosion and a possible short in the module, causing the windows and locks to malfunction.

A short could also cause overheating, melting, smoke, or even a fire.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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Woman Rescued from Burning Car

8/17/2012  News Source: Washington Post   by: Associated Press
When a sport utility vehicle ran off a rural stretch of interstate and slammed into pine trees in Mississippi, nearly two dozen people rushed to help two sisters who were trapped inside the burning vehicle.

Among them was AP photographer Gerald Herbert, who was on his on his way to Biloxi for an assignment. Herbert arrived just after good Samaritans were able to pull the passenger, 39-year-old Felicidad De Monte, from the SUV, along with her wheelchair. Her younger sister, Giovanna De Monte, was still inside.

In his own words, here is what Herbert and others did to help her:

“The car was on fire in the engine compartment and the fire was increasing, getting to the point where it was fully involved.
Read full story from Washington Post

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Youth Driving Laws Limit Even the Double Date

8/16/2012  News Source: New York Times   by: Kate Zernike
CLIFTON, N.J. - It is a rite of American teendom, celebrated in popular culture by “American Graffiti†and “Fast Times at Ridgemont Highâ€: a teenager with a driver’s license piling as many friends as will fit into the car for a ride.

But increasingly, states are legislating away that carefree cruise, passing laws that restrict when, how and with whom teenagers can get behind the wheel.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia now prohibit teenagers from driving with another teenager, and all but seven states forbid them from driving with more than one. In South Carolina, teenagers cannot drive after 6 p.m. in winter (8 p.m. in summer), and in Idaho, they are banned from sundown to sunup.
Read full story from New York Times

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'Consumer Reports' lists 5 cars to avoid

8/7/2012  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Chris Woodyard - USA Today
You'd think that Consumer Reports magazine's "Five Popular Cars to Avoid" would hit heavy on big American metal: Buicks, Chryslers and the like. Instead, one of the five is a Toyota Prius, and another is the ever-popular Honda Civic, long a CR favorite.

Here are CR's choices and a synopsis of the magazine's criticism that didn't perform all that well in testing, or they have lousy reliability ... or both.

Honda Civic: Honda "took too many shortcuts in the latest redesign." The subcompact has a choppy ride, noisy cabin, vague steering and mediocre interior. At least it's reliable.

Toyota Prius C: The C is the least expensive Prius hybrid, getting 37 miles per gallon in the city and 43 mpg on the highway. It's not to be confused with the mainstay Prius that has earned Toyota its well-deserved mileage-leader reputation in the past decade. The C "suffers from a stiff ride, noisy cabin, slow acceleration and cheap-looking interior trim." Buy a Honda Fit, a non-hybrid, instead, the magazine recommends.

Jeep Liberty: The small, rugged crossover earned one of CR's lowest road test scores. It can go off-road, but the ride suffers on pavement. It only gets 16 mpg overall.

Ford Edge: Nice styling, but it had much-worse-than-average reliability ratings from CR readers and has the "complicated and unintuitive" MyFord Touch infotainment system.

Dodge Grand Caravan: This venerable minivan is "versatile, comfortable and well-equipped," but it suffers from squeaks, rattles, interior trim and sliding-door trouble. It's overall 17-mpg in testing didn't help matters.

Read full story from Detroit Free Press

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Toyota recalls 760,000 RAV4s and 18,000 Lexus HS250h

8/2/2012  News Source: Associated Press   by: 
Toyota Motor said Wednesday it's recalling 778,000 RAV4 SUVs and Lexus HS 250h sedans in the U.S. to fix a suspension problem that could cause crashes.

The company says if rear suspension nuts aren't tightened properly after a wheel alignment, the arms can rust and separate from the vehicle.

Toyota reported nine crashes and three minor injuries from the problem.

RAV4s from the 2006 to 2011 model years are covered by the recall. The Lexus sedans are from 2010 only.
Read full story from Associated Press

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Keeping vehicles longer is a trend that's here to stay

7/31/2012  News Source: Digital Journal   by: John Duarte
The fact that people are not changing vehicles as often due to the economic climate is not a surprise to anyone. But, a recent study shows that many vehicle owners are holding on to their cars until they die.

According to a survey conducted by, the trend of changing or upgrading a vehicle every two or three years is a thing of the past. The online automotive repair source recently published results of a poll of nearly 4,000 respondents and a large percentage said they are keeping their cars 10 years or longer and that will likely be the case when or if the economy recovers fully.
Read full story from Digital Journal

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Hyundai Motor recalls cars over airbag problems

7/29/2012  News Source: Reuters   by: Sung-won Shim
Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea's top automaker, is recalling more than 200,000 units of its Santa Fe sport utility vehicle model and popular Sonata cars in the United States due to problems with their airbags, a U.S. state safety agency said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a report released on its website that Hyundai's U.S. dealers will recall 199,118 Santa Fe SUVs built between April 19, 2006 and July 7, 2008 and 22,512 units of Sonata sedans manufactured from January 24 to June 21 2012.

The front passenger airbags of the Santa Fe models appeared to have improper occupant classification system, putting small-bodied people at risk, the U.S. agency said.

"The occupant classification system (OCS) may need recalibration to accurately detect small statured adults," it added.

Sensors for the side airbags of the Sonatas are needed to be reprogrammed because they may inflate without receiving a signal, increasing injury risks, the agency said.
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Mazda recalls 217,000 Tribute SUVs

7/27/2012  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Associated Press
Mazda is recalling about 217,000 Tribute SUVs to fix a problem that can cause the gas pedals to stick.

It's the same problem that forced Ford to recall 485,000 Escape SUVs on Thursday. The Tribute and Escape are essentially the same vehicles.

The Mazdas are from model years 2001 through 2008 and are powered by 3-liter V6 engines.

The cruise control cable can get snagged on the engine cover and cause the accelerator to stick if the driver has pushed the gas pedal close to the floor.

Dealers will install fasteners to create more space between the cables and the cover. Parts are expected to arrive in mid-August.

Mazda says if customers have concerns about their Tributes before that, dealers will disconnect the cruise control until the parts arrive.
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REVIEW: Porsche 911 Carrera S

7/26/2012  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Mark Phelan
The last rear-engined sports car Porsche developed before the boutique carmaker merged with the gargantuan Volkswagen Group this year, the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S embodies everything Porsche does best ... and all the things VW can help it do better.

The seventh-generation 911 is an engineering masterpiece: bigger and more powerful, but lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient than the car it replaces. Porsche is a very small company, though. Its limited resources announce themselves in a lack of some features and the need for refinement in the automatic stop-start system.

The new 911 Carrera S is the seventh generation of the 911. It hews close to the original design by the late Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, grandson of company founder Ferdinand Porsche. Ferdinand Alexander died at 76 in April, but lived to see this latest and best version of the icon he created.
Read full story from Detroit Free Press

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Many variables determine cars' EPA estimated mileage

7/22/2012  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Zlati Meyer
Millions of budget-conscious Americans consider the m.p.g. ratings on window sales stickers or listed on consumer websites before buying or even renting a car.

But what they might not know is that very few of those fuel-economy claims -- only about 15% -- are verified by regulators. Even then, actual results vary from vehicle to vehicle, model to model and driver to driver.

In addition, the meaning and definition of m.p.g. has changed as hybrid vehicles that combine electricity and gas-powered technologies have turned the rating into more of a theoretical index rather than a mathematical calculation of the actual amount of gas used.
Read full story from Detroit Free Press

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Why So Many Orange Cars

7/21/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
Is orange the new black? Well, sort of.

Maybe we should say it is the new silver which has long been the go-to hue in the car business. Still, the connection between cars and the fashion industry â€" where you can rarely go wrong with black – has much to do with the emergence of orange as a common color for cars.

During the last several years orange has become more popular in clothing and home décor but has largely been considered too risky for cars. After all, you have to live with and look at a car for many years, and the conservative auto industry has largely regarded orange as a bit too loud for the long term.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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Honda recalls 321,000 vehicles to fix doors

7/20/2012  News Source: Associated Press   by: Staff
Honda recalling more than 321,000 small SUVs and cars across the globe Thursday because the doors may not close.

The recall affects 314,000 CR-V small SUVs from the 2012 model year and about 7,300 Acura ILX small luxury cars from the 2013 model year.

Honda says that if the inside driver or passenger door handles are used at the same time as the power or manual door locks, the inner door latch may not work. This means a door may not latch, or it could latch and open when the locks are used.

The company says no crashes or injuries have been reported because of the problem.

Honda says dealers will inspect the cars and fix them if needed. Owners should get letters from the company starting in mid-August.
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Ford recalls 2013 Escapes, tells owners not to drive

7/19/2012  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Alisa Priddle
Ford has told owners of certain 2013 Escape SUVs to stop driving them because of the possibility engines can catch fire, but some dealers told customers they knew nothing about a plan to pick up the vehicles and replace them with loaner cars.

Ford is recalling 11,500 of the all-new Escapes with the highly acclaimed 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine in the U.S. and Canada after three fires were reported, one by a customer and two from Ford employees driving them from the assembly line to a holding area. No injuries were reported.
Read full story from Detroit Free Press

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A Ride in Dad's Traveling Think Tank

7/17/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Dan Zevin
As a kid growing up in New Jersey (exit 7C, if you must know), I spent half of my childhood in a car. The one I remember was a blue Monte Carlo. Actually, it wasn't just blue. It was metallic blue, with rhombus-shaped rear windows that didn't open but looked awesome (then known as "neat-o"). It was my father’s car. But more than that, it was his traveling think tank.

In my dad's generation, a man's car was his castle. And his kids were his captive audience. We listened to his music. We answered his questions. We stared out his rhombus-shaped windows as he shared fatherly wisdom that we’d later refer to as "The Tao of the Monte Carlo."
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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Ford Recalls Certain New Escape Crossovers

7/15/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
Ford Motor Co. is recalling certain 2013 Escape compact crossover vehicles to fix a problem that could make it difficult for the driver to apply the brakes properly.

The car maker said improperly installed carpet padding on the driver's side may decrease the space between the center-console carpet and trim, and the pedals. As a result the driver's foot may contact the side of the brake pedal when moving from the accelerator pedal to the brake pedal.

If this happens it could take longer to stop the car, which can increase the risk of a crash.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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Chevy Offers 60 Day Money Back Guarantee

7/13/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jeff Bennett
Buyers of model year 2012 or 2013 Chevrolet branded vehicles can return their purchases within 60 days, for any reason, under the new "Love it or Return it" offer running through Sept. 4. Vehicles must be driven fewer than 4,000 miles and undamaged. At the same time, GM is offering what it calls "no haggle pricing" on 2012 Chevrolet models it wants to clear off dealer lots by the fall.

GM's approach is a departure from years past, when the auto maker and its rivals marked this time of year with splashy ads offering deep discounts. Big markdowns have the potential to undermine profits and disrupt the fragile balance that has allowed most of the major players in the U.S. industry to make money, even as profits wither elsewhere in the world.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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Where to Find Auto Deals This Summer

7/8/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Kelli B. Grant
Strong sales have put auto makers in the driver's seat this summerâ€"which means consumers likely will see sparser deals than the lot-emptying clearances of previous years.

Here's where drivers in the market for a new car can still find bargains:
Leases: The most attractive leases across the board seen in a number of years
Low-Rate financing: There are lots of 0% offers, because credit is cheap
Big Vehicles: Larger SUVs and trucks typically have the huge cash rebates
Model redesigns: Look for a car that is set to be redesigned in its next model year

Check out the video in full story.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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6/30/2012  News Source: Reuters
Toyota Motor Corp. said it will add two of its Lexus models to a recall it started in late 2009 to address the risk that a loose floor mat could force down the accelerator.

Toyota said about 131,800 vehicles of the 2010 RX350 model and about 22,200 vehicles of its 2010 RX450H model would be recalled.

Owners of the vehicles will receive a safety recall notification in early August. Lexus dealers will handle the vehicles at no cost to the customers, the company said in a statement.
Read full story from Reuters

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Court paves the way for EPA fuel economy rules

6/26/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: From wire reports
"This is a huge victory for our children's future" a senior attorney for the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement.

A U.S. appeals court has knocked down a challenge to the Obama administration’s 2012-2016 model-year fuel economy rules and has paved the way for new ones to be finalized this summer for the 2017-2025 model years.

The Obama administration finalized 2012-2016 model-year standards, raising the average fleet-wide fuel economy to 34.1 mpg by 2016. The current 2017-25 model-year proposal will hike the requirement to 54.5 mpg by 2025.
Read full story from Automotive News

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Chevy Cruze recall over risk of fire

6/22/2012  News Source: Associated Press   by: Tom Krisher
Engine fires are forcing General Motors to recall the Chevy Cruze, a popular model that has helped GM win back small-car buyers.

The recall covers 475,000 vehicles made in the U.S. from September of 2010 through May of 2012. It's the car's fifth recall since it arrived in showrooms nearly two years ago, raising questions about the sedan's reliability.

The fires can break out when fluids drip onto a hot plastic shield below the engine. The problem occurs mainly when oil is spilled and not properly cleaned up during changes, General Motors said Friday.
Read full story from Associated Press

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Major Rental Car Outfits Renting Unrepaired, Recalled Vehicles

6/15/2012  News Source:
Safety advocates are up in arms because three of the nation's four major rental car companies are refusing to agree to comply with a blanket pledge stating they will not rent or sell unrepaired recalled vehicles. The one major car rental company that did comply was Hertz Global Holdings.

Enterprise Car Rental is one that spoke up about wanting the cars with minor issues to be left out of the blanket pledge.
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Honda recalls about 50,000 Civics

6/13/2012  News Source: Reuters   by: Ben Klayman
Honda Motor Co Ltd said on Wednesday it will recall about 50,000 Civic small cars in the United States from the 2012 model year for a potential driveshaft assembly issue that could lead to loss of engine power.

The Japanese automaker said it will inspect and, if needed, replace the driver's side driveshaft that may not have been properly assembled, which could lead to the engine no longer propelling the vehicle in any gear.

The car also could roll away if the parking brake has not been set, Honda said.

No crashes or injuries have been reported related to the issue, Honda said.

Mailed notification of the recall will begin in late June, Honda said.
Read full story from Reuters

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Auto Makers eye Apple's voice command technology

6/12/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Ryan Beene
LOS ANGELES - Toyota, Honda, Audi and General Motors have confirmed they plan to integrate Siri, Apple Inc.'s voice control technology used on the iPhone, into connectivity systems of upcoming vehicles.

Spokespersons from the four companies confirmed the plans to Automotive News on Monday after announcements made by Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

In essence, vehicles compatible with the Siri service will allow drivers to make calls, dictate text messages, look up directions and use other Siri functions by plugging their iPhone into a USB cable in the car. Pressing a button on the steering wheel will activate Siri, and drivers can speak commands to their phone hands-free.
Read full story from Automotive News

Chrysler expands Jeep Liberty SUV recall

6/11/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Reuters
Chrysler has expanded a recall regarding corrosion on Jeep Liberty SUVs to include the 2006 and 2007 model years after recalling the 2004 and 2005 model years in March, U.S. safety regulators and Chrysler said today.

The recall affects vehicles in cold-weather areas that can sustain a rear suspension lower control arm fracture due to excessive conditions because of salt on roads in winter, according to a filing with the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Such a break could lead to loss of vehicle control and a crash, NHTSA said.
Read full story from Automotive News

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Kia recalls 72,568 cars

6/5/2012  News Source: Reuters   by: Reuters Staff
Kia Motors is recalling 72,568 Rio small cars in the United States to address a potential sensor problem that could lead to the front passenger airbag deploying unnecessarily.

Kia, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor, is recalling the cars from model years 2006 through 2008 because of possible cracking of a printed circuit in the front passenger seat sensor mat that could lead to the system not being able to detect whether a child passenger is in the seat, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Read full story from Reuters

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Will Buick be the next to GM make to disapear

5/28/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Mike Colias
Buick, the storied General Motors brand that had been staging a strong comeback since barely surviving GM's 2009 restructuring, has hit a pothole.

Buick sales have dropped for seven straight months, tied with Cadillac for the longest losing streak among the 41 brands sold in the United States. But unlike Cadillac, which has two new nameplates coming this summer, Buick doesn't have new or redesigned vehicles riding to the rescue.

The question confronting Buick is whether the slump is a sign of deeper troubles or simply growing pains now that GM finally has gotten serious about positioning Buick to challenge entry-luxury brands such as Acura and Infiniti.

Much of Buick's lost sales momentum is self-inflicted, as GM takes steps to polish the brand's image and raise residual values. For example, GM has dialed back Buick sales to rental-car companies, a practice that for years has eroded the brand's value.
Read full story from Automotive News

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Chevrolet recalls 4,300 Malibu Eco cars

5/24/2012  News Source: Reuters   by: Ben Klayman
The U.S. automaker said in what it described as rare cases under extremely aggressive turning, the roof rail airbags in some 2013 model year Malibu Ecos might inflate. It also said in another scenario it described as rarer that the airbags and safety belt pretensioners might not deploy.

GM said no crashes or injuries have been reported related to this issue.

GM said it discovered the problem during a development test in which one of the cars was performing extreme maneuvers. It said letters will be mailed to car owners on June 1 with instructions to have the reprogramming done at no cost at a dealer.
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GM cuts Facebook spending, but Ford steps on the gas

5/16/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Auto News Staff
On the eve of Facebook's wildly anticipated initial public stock offering, General Motors said Tuesday that it will stop buying advertisements on Facebook -- about $10 million a year -- but "remains committed" to the social network as part of "an aggressive content strategy with all our products and brands."

Ford on the other hand said it would "accelerate" ad spending on Facebook in conjunction with the content it's producing for the network.
Read full story from Automotive News


5/11/2012  News Source: Washington Times   by: Paul Samakow
We know we are supposed to drive safely. Accidents can injure, maim, or kill. Unsafe vehicles can cause the same tragic results.

Annually, more than 42,000 lives are lost because of vehicles that were in some way defective. Traffic collisions are the number one killer of Americans under age 34. The annual loss to society, in terms of worker productivity, medical costs, insurance costs, etc., is estimated at more than $150 billion.

When a vehicle’s design, manufacture or assembly has or causes a defect, the best safety response is to recall all of the vehicles in the class determined to be defective.

You have an obligation. If you are notified of a recall, take your vehicle back to the dealer and have it repaired. Your life, those of your loved ones, and others on the road with you depend upon your responsible attention to the problem.
Read full story from Washington Times

Google gets first self-driven car license in Nevada

5/9/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Rueters
Google's self-driven cars will soon be appearing on Nevada roads after the state's Department of Motor Vehicles approved on Monday the nation's first autonomous vehicle license.

The move came after officials rode along on drives on highways, in Carson City neighborhoods and along the famous Las Vegas Strip, the Nevada DMV said in a statement.

Senator challenges rental car companies on recalled autos

5/9/2012  News Source: USA Today   by: Gary Stoller
Barbara Boxer is challenging three big auto rental companies to agree to not rent or sell vehicles that are under safety recall before they're fixed.

Boxer, D-Calif., sent letters Monday to Avis Budget, Dollar Thrifty and Enterprise, which also owns the Alamo and National brands.

The letters ask the companies to pledge that they are "making a permanent commitment" to not renting or selling recalled vehicles "until the defect has been remedied."
Read full story from USA Today

Ford releases photos of Focus Electric NASCAR pace car

5/8/2012  News Source: News Source
Last week, Ford announced that it would be creating the world's first all-electric pace car in the form of the Focus Electric hatchback. Set to lap the oval at the Richmond 400 at the end of this month, the official Focus Electric NASCAR pace car was unveiled to the public at Richmond International Raceway today, showing off the battery-powered vehicle wrapped in its decidedly modest racing livery.
Read full story from News Source

Feds test car-to-car communication

4/30/2012  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says new "vehicle to vehicle" communications could eventually help save thousands of lives, and the agency is considering new regulations in 2013 to eventually mandate the technology.

At the SAE World Congress here Thursday, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said such regulation could "create a baseline communication system" to help prevent traffic accidents, which cost the nation tens of billions of dollars each year.

NHTSA is conducting a major test of "vehicle to vehicle" technology. As an example of that technology, the driver of one vehicle could be alerted that another is about to run a red light ... potentially avoiding an accident, Strickland noted.
Read full story from Detroit News Washington Bureau

Chrysler profit quadruples to $473 million

4/26/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Larry P. Vellequette
DETROIT - Chrysler Group said its first-quarter net income quadrupled on surging sales as the automaker set a profit target of $1.5 billion for the year.

Chrysler earned $473 million in the January-March period, up from $116 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 25 percent to $16.4 billion as U.S. vehicle sales increased 39 percent, the company said in a statement today.

"It's fair to say that Chrysler is firing on all cylinders," Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said. "It's been a great quarter, and I think that the indications for the remainder of the year are absolutely positive."

Nissan Recalls Certain Titan Trucks for Labeling Error

4/22/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
Nissan Motor Co. is recalling certain Titan pickup trucks from the 2012 model year because they have improper seating-capacity labels that could lead owners to overload the vehicles and increase the risk of a crash.

The recall reflects tight safety regulations in the auto industry and the fact that manufacturers cannot depend on the common sense of drivers to insure vehicles are operated in a safe manner.

Customers may contact Nissan at 615-725-1000 .
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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Three Of Five Parents Involve Kids In Car-Buying Decisions

4/20/2012  News Source: Family Car Guide   by: Suzanne Kane
It may come as a shock to some automakers, and a few parents, but a new proprietary study from The Family Room finds that three of five parents (57 percent) today involve their kids in car-buying decisions.

The latest study, conducted in 2011, looked at a number of different categories including automotive, vacations, electronic purchases, and others. The result is a lot of information about the relative purchase influence of kids vs. parents, how often parents are conferring with their kids on cars to buy and what cars not to buy, as well as what brands are most aspirational to kids and their parents.
Read full story from Family Car Guide

Ignoring Auto Recalls Threatens Public Safety

4/16/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: PR Newswire
A new study shows that choosing to ignore auto recalls threatens the safety of consumers everywhere. In 2011, over 2.7 million used cars were for sale online with safety recalls that were never fixed. Car owners and sellers can help improve public safety by actively checking for open recalls and having them fixed by franchise dealers. There's no excuse - recall repairs are free and finding cars with open recalls is easy.

Car Brake Overrides Proposed in U.S.

4/13/2012  News Source: Bloomberg   by: Angela Greiling Keane
Auto-safety regulators proposed requiring cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. to have so- called brake override features to stop a vehicle when drivers press both the brake and accelerator.

Today's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal follows record recalls in 2009 and 2010 by Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) for defects that may cause unintended acceleration.

"America's drivers should feel confident that any time they get behind the wheel they can easily maintain control of their vehicles -- especially in the event of an emergency," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "By updating our safety standards, we're helping give drivers peace of mind that their brakes will work even if the gas pedal is stuck down while the driver is trying to brake."
Read full story from Bloomberg

$4 gas fuels a surge in March sales

4/9/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Jesse Snyder
It feels counterintuitive. Expensive gasoline not only helped propel new-vehicle sales in the first quarter. It was a key factor in the surge.

But customers aren't flocking from big trucks to small cars as happened four years ago when fuel prices spiked. Instead they are shopping within the same segments and snapping up newer models that get better fuel economy.

So despite $4 gasoline, consumers bought 1.4 million light vehicles in March, up 13 percent over March 2011 and the highest volume for any month since August 2007. What's the attraction? New vehicles with better fuel efficiency than slightly older models of the same size.

Ford recalling 140,000 '12 Focus vehicles

4/7/2012  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Ford Motor Co. said Saturday it is recalling 140,310 2012 Ford Focus cars over potentially faulty windshield wipers.

Ford said a seal plug on the passenger side windshield wiper motor electrical connector may be missing, which allows water into the motor and may make it inoperative.

Ford said the recall covers 2012 models built through Oct. 18 at its Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne.

Ford will install a redesigned seal plug. If it is missing, Ford dealers also will grease the electrical connector and ensure the wipers are working.

Ford told its dealers of the recall on Tuesday and notified some owners on Friday.

Rental car company Avis Budget Group said it is pulling 10,000 recalled 2012 Ford Focus vehicles from its rental fleet until they are repaired. That accounts for about 3 percent of the company's 300,000 vehicles in North America.
Read full story from Detroit News Washington Bureau

See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Honda recalls 554,000 SUVs in U.S.

3/30/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Reuters
Honda Motor Co. is recalling about 554,000 sport utility vehicles in the United States to inspect for faulty wiring in headlights.

Honda said in a statement that the recall affects CR-V SUVs from model years 2002 to 2004 and Pilot SUVs from model year 2003. The Japanese automaker will inspect and replace parts of the headlight wiring system that could fail, causing the low-beam headlights not to work and increase the risk of crash.
See the Honda Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Young adults are less interested in driving, study says

3/29/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Ellen Mitchell
More young adults would rather surf the Web than cruise around in a car, researchers at the University of Michigan said in a study.

The university's Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor, Mich., found that having a higher proportion of Internet users in the United States is associated with lower licensure rates among young people.

The trend also is apparent in other countries. Researchers found that Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway and South Korea had the same decrease in young drivers and an increase in older drivers.

BMW recall: 367,000 U.S. cars in company's largest recall

3/28/2012  News Source: Los Angeles Times   by: Jerry Hirsch
BMW will recall 1.3 million luxury cars, including 367,000 in the U.S., because of a potential problem with a battery cable connector.

It is BMW's largest recall ever, company officials said, and it is big by industry standards, rivaling some of the large recalls issued by Toyota Motor Co. as it dealt with quality issues over the past two years.

The recall includes all BMW 5 Series Sedans and Sport Wagons produced between June 1, 2003, and March 31, 2010, and 6 Series Coupes and Convertibles produced between Sept. 1, 2003, and July 31, 2010.
Read full story from Los Angeles Times

See the BMW Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

BMW Recalling 1.3 Million Cars

3/26/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: WSJ Staff
German luxury-car maker BMW AG said on Monday that it is recalling about 1.3 million vehicles world-wide for repair due to potential problems with a battery-cable cover, one of the German luxury car maker's largest recalls in recent years.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

See the BMW Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Honda recalls 1,300 CR-V SUVs

3/23/2012  News Source: Reuters
Honda Motor Co. is recalling 1,316 CR-V SUVs in the United States for a potential welding problem that could lead to impaired vehicle handling, the Japanese automaker said on Friday.

Honda said in a statement that an improper welding process used when manufacturing the right front lower control arm on the SUVs from model year 2006 might allow the part to break at the weld.

Vehicle handling could be affected in that case, increasing the risk of a crash.L
See the Honda Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Congress debates higher recall fines

3/22/2012  News Source: Detroit News   by: David Shepardson
Washingtonâ€" The Obama administration thinks higher maximum fines are necessary to deter automakers from failing to recall vehicles in a timely fashion.

The Senate approved a highway bill last week that would hike fines to $250 million for delaying recalls - up from today's maximum of about $17 million.

Major automakers want the House to reject that.

National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstrator David Strickland told a House panel on Thursday that higher fines would help deter automakers.
Read full story from Detroit News

Price of Gas Matters to Voters, but Doesn't Seem to Sway Votes

3/18/2012  News Source: New York Times   by: Binyamin Appelbaum
There may be no number stamped more frequently on the American landscape than the price of gas. And as the average price has climbed toward $4 a gallon nationwide, it has generated abundant chatter about the threat to the economic recovery, and to incumbent politicians.

Republicans have seized on the issue to attack President Obama's management of the economy. The president has responded with speeches defending his energy policies, including increased domestic oil production.

But there is surprisingly little evidence that gas prices deserve an outsize reputation for economic and political influence.
Read full story from New York Times

Small is beautiful as compact buyers return

3/17/2012  News Source: Bloomberg   by: Keith Naughton
Small cars, once the Achilles' heel of U.S. automakers, are becoming a strength.

Sales of General Motors Co.'s Chevy Cruze compact are up 10 percent this year, while Ford Motor Co.'s Focus compact sales have soared 90 percent.

Last year, GM, Ford and Chrysler Group LLC's share of the compact and subcompact market in the United States rose to a four-year high of 26 percent, from 20 percent in 2010, according to researcher LMC Automotive.

After losing a generation of car buyers to Japanese automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp., U.S.-based companies are building their comebacks on cars they once dismissed and discounted in favor of high-profit SUVs.

Small cars from Detroit are no longer utilitarian econoboxes. They have high style and high-tech features, such as voice-activated stereos, previously found only on bigger, more expensive models.

Subaru Recalls 250,000 Foresters For Faulty Seatbelts

3/15/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
Subaru of America Inc. is recalling certain Forester vehicles from the 2009 to 2012 model years to fix a seat-belt problem that could prevent child safety seats from being installed securely.

The car maker, which is a unit of Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., said the recall includes 275,000 vehicles built from Nov. 26, 2007, through March 13, 2012. In these vehicles, the automatic locking retractor mechanism in the rear-center seat belt may not lock properly. As a result, child seats installed in the vehicle may not be secure and could increase the risk of injury in a crash.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

See the Subaru Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

U.S. auto dealers who survived see record sales

3/15/2012  News Source: Bloomberg   by: Craig Trudell
A 12 percent reduction in the U.S. dealer count since 2008, spearheaded by Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co.'s reorganizations and Ford Motor Co.'s restructuring out of bankruptcy, is now translating to record sales and the highest profit in at least five years. That's allowing dealers who survived to re-hire salesmen and technicians, spend aggressively on store renovations and boost spending on local advertising.

“This was always an excellent business, a resilient business, and now it's just about in as good shape as it's been in for decades, John Casesa, senior managing director at Guggenheim Securities LLC in New York and a former auto dealer, said in a phone interview. “The businesses are just humming."

Employment at vehicle and parts dealers has increased in 19 consecutive months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington. The industry employed about 1.72 million as of February, from 1.61 million at the nadir of February 2010.

Feds investigate 360,000 Ford Taurus vehicles

3/11/2012  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Sunday said it opening a preliminary investigation into 360,000 2005-2006 Ford Taurus sedans over complaints of stuck throttles because of cruise control cable detachment.

NHTSA said it is has received 14 complaints from Taurus owners that say the engine revved as high as 4,000 RPMs after shifting into park or neutral.

Some complaints say owners had trouble stopping the vehicles - and one owner said the vehicle had traveled partially through a red light before it stopped. Some drivers had to shift into neutral or shut off the car to stop the vehicle.
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Toyota issues nearly 700,000-car recall

3/8/2012  News Source:
Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. said Wednesday that it's recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles because of various problems.

The recalls include about 495,000 Tacoma trucks made during the 2005 through 2009 model years that need to have their steering wheel spiral cable assemblies replaced, Toyota said.

The Japanese automaker said that friction may occur in some vehicles between the assembly's spiral cable and the retainer, and over time, cut the connection to the driver's airbag.

That could cause an airbag warning light to remain lit after the vehicle is started and for the driver's airbag to be deactivated, preventing the airbag from deploying during a crash, Toyota said.

In addition, the automaker is recalling about 70,500 Camry sedans made during the 2009 model year and about 116,000 Venza crossovers made during the 2009 through 2011 model years, to replace their stop lamp switches.
Read full story from

See the Toyota Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Ford uses blue lighting to help drive "blues" away

3/6/2012  News Source: AutoWeek   by: Bradford Wernle
Can ambient lighting change mood and enhance a driver's alertness behind the wheel? Ford Motor Co. thinks so, and the company is using the 2013 Ford Fusion sedan to showcase its latest ideas.

When drivers get into the 2013 Fusion, they will see lots of ambient blue lighting. For Ford, ice blue is more than just a pretty color; it's a key to optimizing the well-being of the car's occupants.

The new Fusion will be a seriously high-tech automobile, and the lighting will be no exception. Ford will be dispensing with all incandescent light bulbs in the new Fusion. LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, will rule.
Read full story from AutoWeek

Nissan recalling 30,000 vehicles for engine, air bag problems

3/5/2012  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Nissan Motor Co. is recalling nearly 30,000 vehicles in two separate campaigns to address air bag faults and engine stalls.

One of the two recalls came under U.S. government pressure.

The Japanese automaker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it is recalling 23,531 2011-2012 Nissan Quest minivans to reprogram the vehicle's software to address some engine stalls. Nissan also is recalling 5,777 Infiniti Q45 models to fix side air bags that may not deploy in a crash.
See the Nissan Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Toyota denies CNN report about unintended acceleration concerns

3/3/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Bloomberg
Toyota Motor Corp. denied a CNN report that said engineers told the Japanese carmaker in 2006 they found faulty software that led to sudden unintended acceleration in tests.

CNN, citing an internal memo, reported tests of a pre-production model showed the failsafes for the electronics that governed the vehicle’s cruise control needed to be improved. Toyota said it deliberately introduced the error to test its systems and CNN had mistranslated the document.

Chrysler launches Fiat ad with Charlie Sheen and supermodel

3/1/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Larry P. Vellequette
A sixty-second commercial for the Fiat 500 Abarth pairing perennial Bad Boy actor Charlie Sheen with the Romanian model who starred in the car's "Seduction" Super Bowl commercial will begin airing on television, Chrysler Group announced today.

"House Arrest" features images of a 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth racing through the hallways of a mansion filled with nattily-dressed party-goers. As the subcompact power slides to a stop in a room filled with people, its driver's side door opens and Sheen's left leg steps out, fitted with an electronic monitoring device around the ankle.

Toyota, GM channel big bucks to YouTube.

2/27/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Michael Learmonth
If you needed a sign of just how audacious YouTube's $100 million experiment in original content is, consider the asking price for big advertisers such as General Motors and Toyota: as much as $62 million for the exclusive on a package of "channels" in categories such as music or pop culture.

No one has paid that yet. Early deals are in the $5 million to $10 million range, but the aggressive asking price reflects the ambition for YouTube's 96 premium "channels," designed to bring to the site TV-like appointment viewing, as well as TV-like advertising dollars.

New-car smell less toxic but not safe

2/22/2012  News Source: AutoWeek   by: Jake Lingeman
The Ecology Center released its fourth consumer guide to toxic chemicals last week, and the news is better. The amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in new cars has decreased, but we still have a ways to go.

VOCs in plastics and flame retardants have been linked to a variety of acute and long-term health concerns.
Read full story from AutoWeek

U.S. new vehicles being kept longer than ever

2/21/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Danielle Emerson
American drivers are holding on to their new vehicles longer than ever - to nearly six years a new study says.

Research firm Polk, citing data compiled in September 2011, said U.S. consumers kept their new vehicles an average of 71.4 months -- up 4.7 months from March. Both the length of ownership and the rate of increase set records for the study.

GM's 2011 profit fuels $7k bonuses for UAW workers

2/18/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Jeff Green
The rebound in GM's profits is putting money into the pockets of U.S. workers after years of belt-tightening. GM on Thursday reported $7.6 billion in net income for 2011, which will mean profit-sharing bonuses of as much as $7,000 for 47,500 eligible UAW members. That's an all-time high for GM, and up from an average of $4,300 for the company's U.S. union workers last year.

Car Dealers Wince at a Site to End Sales Haggling

2/15/2012  News Source: New York Times   by: Tara Siegel Bernard
When it comes to negotiating a price on a new car, the script has not really changed much over the years: The dealer's salesman writes down a price, you counter and then he walks to the back of the showroom to talk with the manager to "see what we can do."

But then, a company called came onto the scene and tried to shake things up. At least consumers no longer have to enter the process blind. Prospective buyers can educate themselves on Web sites like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book and get suggested retail prices and find out how much their trade-ins are really worth.

Still, the auto industry has not embraced the digital age in the way other businesses, like real estate or travel, have. In part, that is because the auto dealers' business practices are protected by state franchise laws.
Read full story from New York Times

Recall Alert: 2012 Subaru Legacy, Outback

2/14/2012  News Source: Chicago Tribune   by: Dave Lee -
Subaru is recalling 381 Legacy and Outback vehicles from the 2012 model year because the side curtain airbags may not inflate, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the affected vehicles, which were built from Dec. 1 to Dec. 23, 2011, the airbags contain the incorrect propellant mixture. As a result, there may be an insufficient output of compressed gas, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

Subaru will notify owners in early April, and dealers will replace one or both side curtain airbag modules for free. Owners can call Subaru at 800-782-2783 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.
See the Subaru Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

2012 forecast: Car sales per dealer may break record

2/14/2012  News Source: Detroit News   by: Craig Trudell
U.S. auto sales per dealership may rise to a record in 2012 as demand increases and automakers' dealership networks stabilize, according to an industry consulting firm.

Sales per dealer increased 9.6 percent to 719 vehicles last year, dealership consultant Urban Science said Tuesday in its annual Automotive Franchise Activity Report. The figure may rise more than 9 percent to 785.

Door fires in Toyota Camry, RAV4 models studied by NHTSA

2/11/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Rueters
U.S. safety regulators have opened a preliminary investigation into consumer complaints of driver's side door fires in 2007 model year Toyota Camry sedans and RAV4 crossover SUVs.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said an estimated 830,000 vehicles may be affected. This probe is short of a recall but may lead to one.

Six consumers have complained, NHTSA said in a filing that shows the investigation was opened this week.

"Based on the available information, it appears the fires are originating from the power window master switch located on the driver's side door," the filing says.
See the Toyota Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Recall Alert: 2012 Nissan Versa

2/11/2012  News Source: Chicago Tribune   by: Jennifer Geiger
Nissan is recalling 36,608 Versa compact cars from the 2012 model year that are equipped with an automatic transmission because they can be shifted out of Park without depressing the brake pedal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an interference between the shifter rod and the shifter knob is causing the problem.

If the driver shifts out of Park without intending to a crash could result. The affected vehicles were made between June 9, 2011, and January 13, 2012. You can find the vehicle's build date on a label affixed to the driver-side doorjamb.
See the Nissan Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Chrysler's halftime ad: A roadmap for America?

2/7/2012  News Source: Automotive News
Is what is good for Chrysler good for America?

The automaker is courting controversy and won kudos for a two-minute Super Bowl advertisement that was less a car sales pitch than a political message in a presidential election year.

Rugged Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood proclaimed it was "Halftime in America" in the spot that did not mention a Chrysler car or truck but intoned that the automaker's successful turnaround could be used as an example for the United States as it struggles with high unemployment and a slow economic growth rate.

"Detroit's showing us it can be done," Eastwood said.

Honda Recalls 2012 Accord, 2012 Crosstour, 2011-2012 Ridgeline

2/3/2012  News Source: The Car Connection   by: Richard Read
Honda has issued two recalls today - one for the 2012 Accord and 2012 Crosstour, and another for the 2011-2012 Ridgeline.

The 2012 Accord and Crosstour recall is the most worrisome of the two. According to a bulletin from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Accords and Crosstours from the 2012 model year may have been built with a faulty inflator for the side-curtain airbag on the passenger's side. As a result, those airbags may not deploy during a crash, seriously increasing the risk of injury to vehicle occupants.
Read full story from The Car Connection

See the Honda Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Auto hacking seen as growing risk

1/30/2012  News Source: Automotive News - Bloomberg   by: Angela Greiling Keane
Washington - Drivers can talk with each other via Bluetooth phone connections, ask their cars for directions and dial up satellite radio. The same cars use electronic components to signal the gas pedal to accelerate and control stability.

What increasingly worries scientists is that entertainment computers could be manipulated to tell the safety computers what to do.

"There clearly is a vulnerability," said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va. "All these electronics we're bringing into cars seem to exacerbate that."

BMW Recalls SUVs

1/26/2012  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
Luxury car maker BMW AG is recalling certain X5 xDrive 35i sport-utility vehicles from the 2012 model year to fix a transmission problem that could lead to roll-away accidents. While the flaw affects only a handful of vehicles, the potential for accidents and injury is significant.

Customers can contact the BMW’s customer relations department at 800-525-7417.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

See the BMW Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Kia Recalls Over 145,000 Cars

1/22/2012  News Source: The Car Connection   by: Richard Read
Kia Motors Corporation has issued a recall for the 2006 - 2008 Optima sedan and for the 2007 - 2008 Kia Rondo. In those vehicles, Kia has identified a problem with the driver's side airbag that could prevent the airbag from deploying during an accident.

The flaw is linked to Optimas manufactured between September 29, 2005 and January 29, 2008, and to Rondos build from September 13, 2006 to March 21, 2008. All told, some 145,755 vehicles are included in the recall.
Read full story from The Car Connection

See the Kia Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

BMW recalling 89,000 Mini brand cars

1/21/2012  News Source: Los Angeles Times   by: Matt Stevens
Nearly 89,000 Mini brand cars, including the Mini Cooper line of vehicles, are being recalled in the U.S. because of faulty water pumps that can malfunction and potentially cause engine compartment fires. The recall comes about three months after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a defects investigation, citing 12 reports of fires in the vehicles manufactured by BMW.

Five of the fires reportedly destroyed the cars, according to a NHTSA document. BMW said it is unaware of any injuries or accidents caused by pump malfunctions
Read full story from Los Angeles Times

See the Mini Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Average age of cars sets record

1/19/2012  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Washington - Americans are holding onto their cars and trucks longer than ever. The average age of cars and trucks on U.S. roads is 10.8 years, the oldest ever recorded, according to Southfield based Polk. By comparison, the average age of the fleet was just 8.4 years in 1996.

Between 2008 and 2011, analysts estimate Americans bought about 10 million fewer cars than if the economy had been stronger. But a sour economy is not the only thing at work: Modern cars as a whole are more reliable than ever, with many running strong at 200,000 miles or more.

As a result, automakers say millions of Americans have postponed buying a new car. Some see that about to change.

How does an automaker decide to recall a car?

1/14/2012  News Source: Chicago Tribune   by: Rick Popely -
Most safety recalls are voluntarily initiated by an automaker after determining that one or more of its vehicles has a safety defect, such as a non-functioning airbag, or equipment that does not comply with federal safety standards, such as an automatic transmission that can be shifted out of Park without stepping on the brake pedal.

Federal regulations require that once a manufacturer finds such a defect, it must report it within five working days to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency that enforces motor vehicle safety regulations. To prevent delays in implementing recalls, NHTSA now requires that it be notified within five days even if the manufacturer doesn't know what is causing the problem or how to fix it.
Read full story from Chicago Tribune

Ford aims for Lincoln revival

1/10/2012  News Source: Detroit News   by: Alisa Priddle
Today, Ford Motor Co. shows the long-awaited new look for the luxury Lincoln brand that has been long on promises and short on sheetmetal. Ford is banking on the new face of Lincoln to attract new, younger buyers, and revive the struggling marque.

The concept for the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ has a new face with a split grille that replaces the traditional vertical "waterfall" look with soaring, horizontal lines. The car has new lights, a new silhouette and a new interior.

Civic Hybrid owner sues Honda over mpg

1/5/2012  News Source: Kansas City Star   by: Linda Deutsch
A Los Angeles woman who expected her hybrid Honda Civic to be a high-mileage machine wants the automaker to pay for not delivering the 50 mpg it promised. But rather than being one of thousands in a class-action lawsuit, she took her case Tuesday to small claims court.

Peters, a state employee and ex-lawyer, argued that Honda knew her car wouldn't get the 50 mpg as advertised before a judge in Torrance, where American Honda Motor Co. has its West Coast headquarters. As her 2006 vehicle's battery deteriorated over time, it barely got 30 mpg, she said.
See the Honda Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Chrysler, up 37 percent, leads Detroit sales

1/4/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: David Phillips
Chrysler Group posted a 37 percent jump in December U.S. sales and joined General Motors in predicting that the industry will finish the year stronger than analysts had predicted.

Chrysler's December jump capped a year that saw the automaker's U.S. volume jump 26 percent. GM said its December sales climbed 5 percent to finish the year up 13 percent; while Ford Motor Co. reported a 10 percent increase for the month and a 9 percent gain for the year.
Read full story from Automotive News

Surprising safety and fuel efficiency innovations to watch for in 2012

1/3/2012  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Mark Phelan
A host of new features you may never have heard of -- and certainly didn't expect to see in mainstream cars and trucks -- will be commonplace by the end of 2012.

New technologies and safety and fuel economy concerns have accelerated automakers' innovation into hyperdrive.

Here's some of what to watch for in 2012 and at the North American International Auto Show in a couple of weeks:

Stop-start Also called auto stop, this shuts the engine off at traffic lights and stop signs and imperceptibly restarts it when you're ready to go. "Imperceptible" is the key word. Auto stop can reduce fuel consumption significantly, but people won't tolerate it if they notice the engine cycling on and off, or if the vehicle doesn't start moving when they expect it to. The Mazda 3 already offers the system, which will show up on many more models in 2012

More voice-recognition
Your smartphone will make your next car better, thanks to new systems that will use it for navigation, to stream your favorite news, music and more. Now that Transportation Secretary and driver-distraction hardliner Ray LaHood has come out in favor of hands-free systems rather than a pointless and unenforceable prohibition of phones, automakers are free to continue to innovate.
Read full story from Detroit Free Press

Smaller cars, luxury, and hybrids headline Detroit lineup

1/2/2012  News Source: Automotive News   by: Charles Child
Small is beautiful in today's auto industry.

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week, automakers will show downsized vehicles. But the vehicles will also be beautiful, as automakers offer luxury and electronic features that shoppers crave. Buick, for instance, will unveil a small crossover called the Encore. Cadillac will show a sedan, the ATS, slotted below the CTS.

Also onstage will be hybrids from Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volvo as automakers race to boost fuel economy.

See a roundup of world production and concept debuts along with other unveilings planned for the show.

Fewer U.S. Recall Totals in 2011

12/31/2011  News Source:   by: James M. Amend
Auto makers selling in the U.S. issued nearly 130 recall campaigns in 2011 affecting some 13 million light vehicles, according to a WardsAuto analysis of federal data.

The numbers suggest a reversal of a troubling 2-year trend that saw the industry's defect woes approach record levels, while perennial quality leader Toyota absorbed waves of recalls that damaged its reputation.

In 2010, auto makers conducted 136 recall campaigns with implications for some 17.2 million LVs. In 2009, 105 campaigns captured about 18.4 million vehicles.
Read full story from

2012 Car and Truck of the Year

12/30/2011  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Mark Phelan
Great things came in small packages this year. The best and most innovative new cars and trucks the world's automakers introduced in 2011 are compact and subcompact cars and small luxury crossover SUVs.

The onslaught of pint-size marvels overwhelmed the old notion that bigger means better, whether that meant bigger vehicles, prices or engines.

The 2012 Detroit Free Press Car and Truck of the Year -- the Ford Focus and BMW X3, respectively -- exemplify this. They pack big-time features and performance into small vehicles that provide excellent value and high fuel economy.

Ford, GM vans face safety probe for potential rust problems

12/27/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Christina Rogers
U.S. safety regulators are investigating about 63,000 2004 Ford Motor Co. minivans to determine is a defect is causing severe rust in the rear wheel wells.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted documents on its Web site Tuesday notifying the public of the probe. The preliminary investigation will examine 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans used in states where salt is used to treat roads during winter months.
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

GM, despite record profits, creates political liabilities for Obama

12/24/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: David Welch
DETROIT (Bloomberg) - General Motors Co., saved by the Obama administration with a $50 billion bailout, is making more money than it has in its history, adding jobs and gaining market share.

It's still a headache for Barack Obama.

GM closed Thursday at $20.70 a share, less than half the $53 price that the U.S. Treasury Department needs to break even. Since Dec. 19, when the shares closed at their lowest price since an initial public offering last year, the shares have risen for three straight days. The stock still needs to rally almost 50 percent to reach $30 a share, the minimum price the Treasury Department would consider for a secondary offering, said three people familiar with the matter.

Cadillac recalls about 20,000 SRX models

12/22/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Reuters
General Motors is recalling almost 20,000 Cadillac SRX crossover vehicles, mostly in China and the United States, due to potential transmission defects.

The vehicles affected in the recall are from the 2010 and 2011 model years, and were built at GM's Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico.

GM, in a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said it received a customer letter in June alleging unintended vehicle motion in a 2011 SRX as the customer tried to shift between park and drive and then back to park. The customer reported that he stopped the vehicle with the service brake and then set the parking brake.
See the Cadillac Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Honda targets 23.5% growth in sales

12/20/2011  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Brent Snavely
Honda expects 2012 will be a far better year than 2011, Tetsuo Iwamura, president and CEO of American Honda said today.

In the U.S., the company is targeting a 23.5% sales increase for its Honda brand in 2012 and a 40% sales increase for Acura.

Iwamura said the sales gains will be fueled by the new cars and trucks including an early upgrade of the Honda Civic as well as the company’s full recovery from inventory problems it faced in 2011.

2 Cadillac models get 5-star crash ratings

12/19/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Christina Rogers
DETROIT - Two 2012 Cadillac models, the CTS sedan and wagon and SRX crossover, have received a five-star crash test rating from U.S. safety regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The top safety marks announced today bring GM's tally of five star-rated vehicles to nine for the 2012 model year.

Ford, Hyundai, VW named finalists for 'Car of Year' award

12/15/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Auto News Staff
DETROIT - The Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat are finalists for the 2012 North American Car of the Year, and the BMW X3, Honda CR-V and Range Rover Evoque are finalists in the truck category.

Winners of the 19th annual competition will be named on Jan. 9, prior to the opening of the Detroit auto show. Last year’s winners were the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Explorer

California To Mandate Clean Car Availability

12/10/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: Scott Dogget
California air-quality regulators this week proposed a plethora of rules aimed at curbing tailpipe emissions in the state, including a proposal intended to dramatically boost the number of advanced-technology automobiles and light-duty trucks on California's roads.

The regulations prepared by the state Air Resources Board (CARB) and applicable to vehicles manufactured from 2015 to 2025 would be enacted into law in 2012 if approved by the state's Office of Administrative Law, which will consider the new rules on Jan. 26.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Recall on Ford Fusions

12/10/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Washington - Ford Motor Co. said Friday it is recalling 130,000 Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans over concerns that the wheel studs could crack and cause the wheels to fall off.

The recall covers 128,616 2010 and 2011 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milans with 17-inch steel wheels. At least six incidents in which wheels came loose have been reported.

Ford is also recalling 2,940 steel wheels that were sold to dealers and used as replacement parts.
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