Toyota Motor Corporation General Manager of Intelligent Vehicle Development Ken Koibuchi speaks at the Toyota Advanced Safety Seminar, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2014.
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Recalls , Safety , Toyota It looks like Consumer Reports might be getting part of what it wants regarding the Toyota Camry Hybrid and its braking system. Toyota is issuing what it calls a limited service campaign, rather than a full recall, covering about 177,500 of the hybrid sedans from the 2007 through 2011 model years because of an issue with the cars’ brake fluid reservoirs. The models have a filter separating two chambers of the brake fluid reservoir, and the part can get clogged over time. If this happens, the fluid level in one of the chambers can get too low and eventually cause the power assist to fail. There are multiple warning lights on the dashboard that illuminate over time if the filter gets obstructed, though. The company is replacing the entire reservoir with an improved unit, and the fix takes about two hours to perform. Consumer Reports recently began asking for a recall on these models for the potentially clogged filters. The magazine also reported a second issue with the ABS brake actuator that could lead to a difficult to depress brake, but Toyota has increased the warranty on the part to 10 years or 150,000 miles. Toyota spokesperson Cindy Knight explained why this isn’t a full recall to Autoblog via email. “If Toyota determines that an issue presents an ‘unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety,’ per the Safety Act, the company will conduct a safety recall,” she said.
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Safety , Toyota Consumer Reports is calling on Toyota to issue an official recall of 178,000 Camry Hybrid sedans from model years 2007 to 2011, claiming that a pair of issues affecting the brakes are so dire they demand a more official action than what the company has undertaken so far. The first issue, as CR tells it, relates to a clog in the brake-fluid reservoir filter, which if left untreated could lead to a number of dashboard warning lights. The “front brake assist could be temporarily lost,” too, according to Toyota’s own notice to dealers and owners of affected models. The company has issued a “service campaign” that will fit a new brake-fluid reservoir free of charge to any affected model brought to a dealer by June 30, 2017. The other issue plaguing the fuel-sipping Camrys is being treated via a warranty extension, and focuses on the ABS brake actuator, a particularly expensive (both in terms of parts, at $1,000, and labor, around $3,000) item that is necessary for the anti-lock braking to function. There’s also a related issue with the brake pedal’s “stroke sensor,” which like the actuator can lead to a very difficult-to-depress brake pedal. The warranty extension increases the coverage of the actuator to 10 years or 150,000 miles (whichever comes first). While both the service campaign and the warranty extension were prompted by a number of complaints and an investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , only the 2007 and 2008 models were investigated. Toyota broadened the scope of the issues, including 2009 to 2011 models, when it announced the service campaign and warranty extension. Despite the company’s actions, CR claims that as of this writing, the 2007 and 2008 Camry Hybrids have still managed to rack up 269 complaints, with 14 reported crashes and five injuries.
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: Recalls , Safety , Chrysler , Ford , GM , Honda , Nissan , Toyota , Volkswagen If you’ve noticed that there have been more recalls than usual this year, you may be on to something. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , the US market is on pace to break a record for recalls. In 2013, 22 million cars were recalled. We’re only a third of the way through 2014, though, and we’ve already halved that figure, with 11 million units recalled. That’s wild. Considering the past few months, it shouldn’t be a surprise that General Motors is leading the charge, with six million of the 11 million units recalled coming from one of the General’s four brands. Between truck recalls , CUV recalls and the ignition switch recall , 2014 hasn’t been a great year for GM. Other recall leaders include Nissan ( one million Sentra and Altima sedans), Honda ( 900,000 Odyssey minivans), Toyota ( over one million units in a few recalls), Volkswagen ( 150,000 Passat sedans), Chrysler ( 644,000 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs) and most recently, Ford ( 434,000 units , the bulk of which were early Ford Escape CUVs). So while it’s been a bad year for GM so far, its competitors aren’t doing too well, either. It’s not the end of the world, though.
Filed under: Marketing/Advertising , GM , Toyota General Motors might be mired in several recalls , as well as the ongoing investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Congress into the automaker’s response to those recalls. However, the company can celebrate taking the title of the US’ second-largest advertiser in 2013. According to Ad Week examining a recently released study, total advertising spending in the US posted its fourth consecutive year of rising expenditures with 0.9-percent growth to $140.2 billion. Of that, the auto industry spent $15.2 billion to promote its goods in 2013, up 3.8 percent. The country’s biggest advertiser was Procter and Gamble, which dropped $3.17 billion in 2013, an increase of 11.8 percent. GM became the nation’s second largest promoter with $1.794 billion in spending, up 10 percent. The biggest proportion of that money went to sell Cadillac and GMC . AT&T barely lost out with $1.793 billion in advertising, 15.2 percent growth. The 10 businesses with the highest ad investments spent a cumulative $15.9 billion during the year, 6.6 percent higher than 2012. Toyota came in eighth place making it the only other automaker to rank in the top 10.
Filed under: Government/Legal , Recalls , Safety , GM , Toyota In the past, if an automaker did something wrong, they were usually prosecuted by the US government through something called the TREAD Act. Short for Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act, it basically requires automakers to report recalls in other countries, along with any and all serious injuries or deaths, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration . Failing to report or attempting to conceal anything when there’s been a death or serious injury constitutes a criminal liability. The idea is that this setup puts the onus on manufacturers to keep NHTSA apprised of safety related issues before they become a problem in the US, thereby allowing the regulator to better protect consumers. In theory, it sounds like a relatively airtight set of rules for dealing with misbehaving automakers. That didn’t stop the US Department of Justice from ignoring TREAD in its prosecution of Toyota’s handling of the unintended acceleration recall, though. The result of this new approach, which charged Toyota with wire fraud, was a $1.2 billion settlement . Now, the wire-fraud approach could be used for the expected case between the US government and General Motors , based on the statements of Attorney General Eric Holder , who specifically mentioned “similarly situated companies” when discussing Toyota. In order to make wire fraud stick, US prosecutors would need to prove criminal intent. As explained by Reuters , that means there needs to be evidence that GM actively misled either regulators like NHTSA, or the general public, all in a bid to maintain sales.