Filed under: Recalls , Safety , BMW , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Mazda , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Subaru , Toyota Since Takata has decided not to take the lead concerning potential issues with its airbag inflators, the automakers have. Perhaps that’s unsurprising, since it’s the automakers, not Takata, that will take a beating on the dealership floor if consumers decide its models are a health hazards. The Detroit News reports that Toyota , Honda , General Motors , Ford , Chrysler , Mazda , BMW , Nissan , Mitsubishi and Subaru met in a hotel conference room near the Detroit Metropolitan Airport last week to sort out a way to understand the technical issues involved. So far, faulty airbag inflators have been ruled the cause of five deaths and 50 injuries around the world, but neither Takata nor investigators understands exactly why the inflators are malfunctioning. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently asked Takata to issue a national recall , Takata declined , citing a minuscule failure rate and the fact that it’s still investigating the issue. Toyota and Honda then made an industry-wide appeal for “a coordinated, comprehensive testing program” that would pinpoint the problem inflators and get them replaced, and that’s what the Detroit meeting was about. Numerous issues, however, will make this a long row to hoe: simply getting the parts to replace the nearly 20 million inflators in cars recalled around the world so far – even working with other suppliers – will take a years , but more importantly, no one knows if the replacement inflators currently being installed will suffer the same issue. Answers will hopefully come quickly with Takata, the ten automakers and NHTSA all independently investigating the problem. 10 automakers shack up in Detroit hotel to talk Takata airbags originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 14 Dec 2014 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
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: Etc. , Japan , Videos , Honda , Lexus , Mazda , Mitsubishi , Nissan , Subaru , Suzuki , Toyota , Daihatsu People tend to get very set in their ways when it comes to the pronunciation of words. Just look at the endless debates over whether or not to say the final ‘e’ in Porsche (which you should in terms of correct German enunciation). Or the argument about whether to follow the British convention and give the ‘u’ in Jaguar a special delivery or to say the ‘ua’ diphthong as more of a ‘w’ sound, as usually happens in the US. This short video doesn’t answer either of those automotive questions, but it does allow a native Japanese speaker to demonstrate the accepted pronunciations for several, major automakers from the country. One benefit is that it clears up the occasional debate over whether Nissan should be said with a long or short ‘i’ sound. Also, listen closely to how the female host says Mazda as Matsuda, the way it’s actually said in the language. Even if this doesn’t change the way you enunciate these brands, at least now you know the accurate way in Japanese. Continue reading Ever wonder how to really pronounce Japanese automaker names? Ever wonder how to really pronounce Japanese automaker names?
Filed under: Honda , Kia , Toyota , Volkswagen , Earnings/Financials While it’s arguably been around the longest, the dominance of the four-door sedan has been under threat for many years. As a further sign of the hurtin’ that SUVs and crossovers have put on today’s four-doors, a new report from Automotive News points to the increasing use of incentives by brands reliant on cars and light on CUVs and pickups. Honda , Toyota , Volkswagen and Kia have all been stung by double-digit increases in their incentives-to-transaction price ratio, according to AN, which cites data from TrueCar. Honda’s ratio is up 14 percent, while Toyota, VW and Kia are up 18, 15 and 19 percent, respectively. ” Most of the incentive growth we have seen is in product segments with low demand – midsized or large sedans ,” TrueCar President John Krafcik told AN. “As this trend goes on, the brands with three-sedan strategies are going to be in worse shape on incentive spending than the crossover brands.” Krafcik backed up his argument with this fun fact: Honda sales were up just two percent in August, compared to Jeep , whose sedan-free fleet saw sales jump 49 percent in the same period. The move towards CUVs isn’t too hard to figure out, with AN pointing out the increasingly fuel-efficient high-riders that are overtaking showrooms. That’s bad news for both sedans and the manufacturers that produce them. UPDATE: A previous version of this story listed John Krafcik as CEO of TrueCar. That is incorrect.
Filed under: Maintenance , Government/Legal , Chrysler , Honda , Toyota The ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice into price fixing in the automotive industry has nabbed one more company breaking the law. Japanese parts giant NGK Spark Plug Company agreed to plead guilty to a felony count of pricing fixing and bid rigging in the in the US District Court in Detroit. Its punishment is a $52.1 million criminal fine and to continue to cooperate with the DOJ’s sleuthing into the problem. According to the DOJ, NGK conspired to fix prices on spark plugs, standard oxygen sensors, and air fuel ratio sensors on vehicles from major automakers in the US, including the former DaimlerChrysler , Honda and Toyota , in a scheme that ran from at least January 2000 to July 2011. The charge claimed that the company and its co-conspirators held meetings where they agreed on bids and price quotes that were submitted to the automakers. With the latest plea, the DOJ has caught 28 companies and 26 executives for price-fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry, and they have collected $2.4 billion in criminal fines. In 2013, the feds brought nine Japanese suppliers down at once, to collect $740 million. Scroll down to read the DOJ’s complete announcement of the case. Continue reading Japanese spark plug giant NGK pleads guilty to price fixing, to pay $52M fine Japanese spark plug giant NGK pleads guilty to price fixing, to pay $52M fine originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .
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 , 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: Plants/Manufacturing , BMW , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Mercedes-Benz , Nissan , Toyota , Volkswagen Among automakers with a big US presence, General Motors is the worst to work for, according to a new survey from Tier 1 automotive suppliers, conducted by Planning Perspectives, Inc. The Detroit-based manufacturer, which has been under fire following the ignition switch recall and its accompanying scandal, finished behind six other automakers with big US manufacturing operations. Suppliers had issues with trust and communications, as well as intellectual property protection. GM was also the least likely to allow suppliers to raise their prices in the face of unexpected increases in material cost, all of which contributed to 55 percent of suppliers saying their relationship with GM was “poor to very poor.” GM’s cross-town competitors didn’t fare much better. Chrysler finished in fifth place, ahead of GM and behind Dearborn-based Ford , which was passed for third place this year by Nissan . Toyota took the top marks, while Honda captured second place. PPI also surveyed suppliers of Volkswagen , BMW and Mercedes-Benz , each of which has considerably smaller manufacturing presence relative to the American and Japanese brands (there are only three US factories between the three of them). Mercedes and VW were ranked behind GM, while BMW would have been just behind Toyota. According to Reuters , this survey serves to illustrate a big issue facing American manufacturers – Japanese brands aren’t just on good terms with suppliers, but their relations are actually improving. PPI boss John Henke said the popularity of Toyota and Nissan among suppliers increased considerably, indicating that we “could be entering an era in supplier relations that doesn’t bode well for the US Big Three.” Tier 1 suppliers call GM the worst OEM to work with originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 12 May 2014 16:29:00 EST.
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.
Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota , Earnings/Financials Toyota is on track for record profits, and in return, its Japanese workers are receiving their first increase in base wages since 2008, plus higher pay based on seniority and a larger bonus for 2014. The Japanese automaker predicts the average laborer will net a 2.9 percent income gain. The average Toyota employee will earn 2,700 yen ($26.28) more each month, a 0.8 percent increase from last year. Workers will also receive about 7,300 yen ($71.09) more monthly based on seniority and promotions. Finally, the company’s union pushed through a median bonus of 2.44 million yen ($23,768) for 2014, the highest in 6 years. The pay boost comes as Toyota forecasts a record 1.9-trillion yen ($18.5 billion) profit for the fiscal year ending on March 31, according to Bloomberg . It has been helped by the Japanese government’s efforts to weaken the yen on international markets and expand inflation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been asking businesses to increase compensation to end years of deflation and offset upcoming higher sales taxes. Honda and Nissan have also raised their wages there in recent months. Toyota raises Japanese base wages for first time since 2008 originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:29:00 EST.