Filed under: Minivan/Van , Safety , Videos , Chrysler , Dodge , Nissan , Toyota First introduced in 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small-overlap frontal crash test has become the bane of many auto engineers’ existence. It’s a particularly steep design challenge because it forces just 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end to take the brunt of a 40-mile-per-hour impact. The newly released results of four family-minded minivans underscore just how difficult the crash test is: only one scored an Acceptable rating, and the other three did very poorly. The 2008-2015 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan , plus the 2011-2015 Nissan Quest , all received Poor ratings in the test, the IIHS’ lowest possible score. The three of them showed significant crash intrusion into the driver’s area. The dummy in the Nissan actually had to be cut out of the vehicle, with an IIHS spokesperson remarking, “the structure collapsed like a house of cards.” In the Fiat Chrysler Automobile vans, the steering wheels moved out of the way, making the airbag less effective and letting the driver’s head hit the dashboard. While it was not actually crashed, the agency is also giving the 2009-12 Volkswagen Routan a Poor score because it shares a structure with the FCA models. The newly released results of four minivans underscore just how difficult the small-offset crash test is. The refreshed 2015 Toyota Sienna (shown), conversely, earned an Acceptable rating and is also a Top Safety Pick+ because of its optional forward collision warning and automatic braking system. While the crash test dummy moved around during the impact more than the agency would have liked, sensors showed a low risk of injuries.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , BMW , Chrysler , Dodge , Ford , Honda , Infiniti , Mazda , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Pontiac , Subaru , Toyota Unfortunately, the government’s list still contains errors. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it’s urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement , and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors , leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX ), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe , a joint project with Toyota . According to a statement sent to Autoblog by GM, the inaccurate entries on the earlier version came because, “The original NHTSA advisory incorrectly listed a group of 2002-2003 GM models that were part of a 2002 recall involving airbags made by other suppliers.” This campaign has been spurred by recent discoveries from Takata about the risks from these inflators . It’s possible for the airbags to rupture in a crash and spray shrapnel at occupants. The problem is known to have caused serious injuries and several deaths , and the likelihood of a malfunction has been determined to be especially likely in high humidity areas. The recalls related to the faulty parts go back to at least 2001 , and most of the vehicles on the latest list are also among the same ones from a campaign in June . Since this isn’t a new recall and NHTSA is simply urging people to take action, it’s possible some of these models might already be repaired. NHTSA appears to be having serious problems with the stress the Takata airbag issue is putting on its consumer website. According to The Detroit News , the agency’s VIN lookup service is down , and its daily listing of new recalls is also not working as of this writing.
Filed under: Chrysler , Infiniti , Mazda , Toyota , Earnings/Financials , Fiat Chrysler will still be largely run out of its headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, and Fiat will be based in Turin, Italy. Americans and Italians worried that two of their nation’s industrial icons – Chrysler and Fiat – are merging into a British/Dutch corporation with a blurred identity can rest a bit easier, even as an initial public stock offering looms as early as October. Chrysler will still be run mostly out of its headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, and Fiat will be based in Turin, Italy. “Operationally, day-to-day operations will sit where they sit today,” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said during an earnings announcement earlier this summer. The company will be incorporated in the Netherlands for tax purposes, and the board will meet in London, where unspecified parts of the firm’s “decision-making process” will take place. “Operationally, London will hold nothing, other than the decision-making process of FCA, meetings of the group executive council and some of the senior leaders will be residing there,” Marchionne said. Specifically, Richard Palmer, FCA’s chief financial officer and a native of Bath, England, will move to London. Still, Marchionne stressed the company’s move to London is more than symbolic, even if some functions are still unclear. “It’s a pretty permanent rooting of the organization in London in order to make sure that the machine runs,” he said. Continue reading Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms Weekly Recap: Despite merger, Fiat and Chrysler will maintain local roots as stock offering looms originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 06 Sep 2014 11:00:00 EST.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota UPDATE : Honda, Mazda and Nissan have all issued statements about the airbag issue, which you can now find below . Interestingly, only Honda is actually using the word “recall” in its statement, with Nissan calling it a “field action” (like Chrysler), and Mazda referring to it as a “special service program.” Honda has also added various Accord, Pilot and Ridgeline models to the list, as well as Acura MDX, TL and CL. Mazda, meanwhile, has added certain Mazdaspeed6 and MPV vehicles to its list. We expect a full list of Nissan vehicles later this week. Three million more vehicles can be added to the worldwide tally to be repaired for the faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata . Honda , Nissan , and Mazda have all issued recalls to replace the bad part, including about 1.2 million of them in North America. NHTSA has been investigating all three companies, plus Chrysler and Toyota, for potentially affected vehicles. Honda is recalling roughly 1.02 million Civic , CR-V , Odyssey and Element models In North America, built between April 2000 and October 2002. Mazda needs to repair 14,794 units of the RX-8 and Mazda6 , and Nissan has 228,000 vehicles in North America to be fixed. Chrysler is also starting what it calls a “regional field action” to replace the inflators in the 2006 Dodge Charger , according to a company spokesperson.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Acura , BMW , Chrysler , Ford , Honda , Infiniti , Lexus , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota The recall of faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata has exploded today to grow to seven automakers. In most cases, only models in certain high-humidity regions were affected because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in its investigation that moisture played a roll in determining whether there would be a problem . However, some companies opted for national campaigns. The exact number of affected models for these campaigns isn’t yet known at this time. BMW is recalling an undisclosed number of 325i , 325Xi, 330i and 330Xi models from the 2001 through 2005 model years and the 2001-2006 model year versions of the 325Ci and 330Ci for the driver side and passenger side inflators. Only vehicles currently registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands are covered under this recall. Neither Chrysler’s filing with NHTSA nor its press release list the specific models affected, but a company spokesperson told Autoblog that at this time it only covers the driver and passenger side inflators for the 2006 Dodge Charger in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands In most cases, only models in certain high-humidity regions were affected because the NHTSA found that moisture played a roll in determining if there would be a problem. Ford is recalling an estimated 58,669 cars that include the 2005-2006 model years of the Ford GT for the driver and passenger inflators, the 2007-2007 model years of the Mustang for the driver side and 2004 Ranger for the passenger side. It covers vehicles originally sold or currently registered in, wait for it… Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Chrysler , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota It seems Toyota won’t be the only one recalling the faulty Takata airbag inflators for long. Honda insiders in Japan claim that the company is getting close to announcing its own worldwide campaign that would begin before the end of June. Unnamed sources close to Honda in Japan tell Automotive News that the company is pursuing an internal investigation into possibly affected models and is working with Takata to gather more information. They claim that it could involve even more than the 1.14 million cars worldwide that the automaker covered under the first recall for the problem in April 2013, including 561,000 vehicles in the US. Toyota jumpstarted this process last week when it recalled over 2 million cars worldwide , including 844,277 in the US . Soon after, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began a preliminary evaluation into the issue following six reported incidents, and started assembling data about potentially affected models from Toyota, Honda, Mazda , Nissan , Chrysler . NHTSA also began investigating Takata itself. The safety hazard comes into play because it’s possible that the inflators contain an improper propellant that could cause it to burst in an accident. Not only does this affect airbag deployment, in some cases the shrapnel hits occupants too. So far, all six reported incidents to NHTSA have occurred in high humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico.
Filed under: Recalls , Safety , Chrysler , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota It appears that Toyota’s renotification to owners of recalled vehicles from last year is just the tip of the iceberg for what could potentially be a much larger industry-wide recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a preliminary evaluation investigation into roughly 1.1 million vehicles from Chrysler , Honda , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota and parts supplier Takata regarding faulty airbag inflators in several models. NHTSA has received six reports – three directly, two from Takata and one from Toyota – of vehicles with ruptured airbag inflators from 2002-2006, which resulted in three injuries. So far, all six incidents have occurred in high humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico. According to Toyota’s latest recall announcement, the inflators may have an improper propellant that could cause it to rupture in a crash and the bag to deploy abnormally. This new investigation follows a previous recall from April 2013 of about 3.4 million vehicles worldwide for the airbag inflators from Takata. As Autoblog reported, Toyota jumpstarted the new situation when it found that the original list of serial numbers for the faulty part was incomplete and discovered more cars in need of replacement. Honda and Nissan told us that they were investigating whether further models would need called in again as well. Mazda told Autoblog : “Regarding the current Takata situation, we’re working closely with NHTSA and investigating the situation, but nothing else to report at this time.” Chrysler Group responded to us with the statement: “Chrysler Group engineers are conducting the appropriate analysis. The Company will cooperate fully with the National Highway Traffic Administration.” According to The Detroit News , the previous Takata inflator recall possibly stemmed from a manufacturing defect at the company’s Washington state factory.
Filed under: Car Buying , Minivan/Van , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Hyundai , Kia , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Residual values for last year’s minivans are higher than they were in 2000. Much like the station wagon was the shuttle of Baby Boomer generation, the minivan has been the primary means of transport for Generations X and Y. Just as the boomers abandoned the Country Squire, though, those kids that were toted around in Grand Caravans and Windstars are adults, and they certainly don’t want to be seen in the cars their parents drove. So why, then, are there still some brands holding out in the minivan market? Chrysler has already announced that a new Town & Country will arrive in the next few years, the Kia Sedona has just been given a massive redesign and both the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey remain strong products despite being in the middle of crossover-heavy lineups. The simple answer? It’s all about the money. “They’re good moneymakers,” George Girjel, owner of Toyota of Cool Springs in Tennessee, told Automotive News . “And the more loaded they are, the faster they sell. The Sienna Limited retails for about $49,000, and we can’t keep any in stock.
Filed under: Etc. , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Toyota If you’re planning on buying a new car in the next month or so, you might want to pick from what’s on the lot, because there could be a long wait for new vehicles from the factory. Locomotives continue to be in short supply in North America, and that’s causing major delays for automakers trying to move assembled cars. According to The Detroit News , there are about 180,000 new vehicles waiting to be transported by rail in North America at the moment. In a normal year, it would be about 69,000. The complications have been industry-wide. Toyota , General Motors , Honda and Ford all reported experiencing some delays, and Chrysler recently had hundreds of minivans sitting on the Detroit waterfront waiting to be shipped out. The problem is twofold for automakers. First, the fracking boom in the Bakken oil field in the Plains and Canada is monopolizing many locomotives. Second, the long, harsh winter is still causing major delays in freight train travel.
Filed under: Car Buying , Acura , Ford , Honda , Hyundai , Subaru , Toyota We often mock Toyota for building boring, soulless cars, but a new study by Consumer Reports suggests that regardless of whether that’s true, the company has some of the best used cars on the market. In its report on used cars from 2004-2013, the Japanese automaker had 11 vehicles among its brands on the list – more than any other automaker. CR breaks the list down by cost and vehicle size, and Toyota has at least one entry at every price point and in nearly every segment. To score a recommendation, a vehicle had to perform well in the magazine’s initial tests and score above-average reliability results. It also tried to only suggest cars with electronic stability control. Of the 28 recommended vehicles, Honda / Acura had the second most mentions at six, and Ford , Hyundai and Subaru managed two each. The Detroit brands also made it to the list, but not in a positive way. Consumer Reports compiled a list of 22 vehicles it wouldn’t recommend because “they have multiple years of much-worse-than-average overall reliability.” General Motors had the most unrecommended models on the list at six, but Chrysler and Ford weren’t far behind, with five cars each from their brands not making the grade. The full list of recommendations is available on CR ‘s website . Toyota tops Consumer Reports best, worst used car values originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:14:00 EST.