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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 borders—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 High”: 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.
See the Hyundai Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

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

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 summer—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.
Read full story from

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.
See the Chevrolet Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

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
Washington— 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.
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

U.S. highway deaths decline 2.9%

12/8/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Bloomberg
WASHINGTON - The number of people killed on U.S. highways fell for the fifth consecutive year in 2010, marking the longest streak of declines since records began in 1899.

Fatalities dropped 2.9 percent to 32,885, the lowest since 1949, the Washington-based National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today in an e-mailed statement. Deaths of motorcyclists, pedestrians and large-truck occupants increased.

Hybrid Sales Soar In November

12/6/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: John O'Dell
Propelled by healthy inventories, increased incentives and a slight uptick in consumer confidence and willingness to make big-ticket expenditures, November sales of conventional and plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles hit an eight-month high of 27,897, soaring 34 percent above advanced-drive vehicle sales for November 2010.

Most of the gain came from increased sales of the segment-leading Toyota Prius and its Lexus cousin, the CT200h. Sales of General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan’s Leaf EV also added to the month's showings as did the presence in the market of several conventional and micro- hybrids that weren’t available a year earlier.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Porsche aims to double its annual U.S. sales

12/3/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Harald Hamprecht
Porsche aims to double its annual U.S. sales within seven years by dramatically expanding its product lineup, while maintaining its U.S. dealer body at almost the same size.

Porsche will launch three models in the U.S. next year: the redesigned 911 in February; the 430-hp Panamera GTS, which arrives next spring; and a Cayenne diesel, Porsche's first diesel-powered model offered in the U.S., which arrives in the second half of the year.

Honda expands faulty air bag recall

12/3/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Honda Motor Co. is expanding a recall for air bag problems to 876,000 vehicles in the United States — the fifth separate recall for the issue since 2008 that has been linked to two deaths.

In total, Honda has recalled 2.53 million vehicles in the United States and 2.7 million worldwide - over faulty air bags that could injure drivers in what is the automaker's largest-ever recall.
See the Honda Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

November Auto Sales Surge

12/1/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: AutoObserver Staff
November auto sales in the United States posted the best monthly sales rate since the anomalous surge in August, 2009, related to the federal government’s Cash-for-Clunkers program. Industry sales rose by 14 percent overall in the month, to about 994,000 units, propelled by broader availability of vehicles to meet American consumers’ “pent-up demand,” some signs of collective economic confidence and continued moderation in gasoline prices and interest rates.

Black Friday and the accompanying shopping mania across the United States likely even contributed. The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of sales for the month was 13.6 million.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Toyota, BMW set to make joint announcement

11/30/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Reuters
Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG said they would hold a joint news conference in Tokyo on Thursday after sources this week flagged a likely cooperation between the two in green-car technology.

A hand-shake between the two industry stalwarts would come as automakers face ballooning research and development costs to meet tougher emissions and fuel-economy standards around the world. They must also meet consumers' varying preferences for vehicle powertrains across different regions

Chevy Volt faces safety probe

11/26/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Angela Greiling Keane
General Motors Co.'s electric plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt is the subject of a U.S. safety probe after its lithium-ion batteries, supplied by LG Chem Ltd., caught fire in crash tests.

A Volt caught fire three weeks after a side-impact crash test May 12 while parked at a testing center in Wisconsin, leading regulators to conduct more tests. Volt battery packs were damaged in three more tests last week, causing two fires, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday in a statement on its website.
See the Chevrolet Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Chrysler's new European look

11/24/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Tommaso Ebhardt
MILAN, Italy (Bloomberg) - Fiat is counting on Lorenzo Ramaciotti, the designer of the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, to make Chrysler models appear at home in both Detroit and Milan.

The 63 year old, lured out of retirement in 2007, is leading efforts by the automaker to create a common styling for Chrysler and its Italian sister brand Lancia in a bid to save costs and more than double their sales by 2014.

Consumer Reports reliability rankings

11/22/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: Christina Rogers
Ford Motor Co., which had been an up-and-comer in Consumer Reports' reliability rankings, tumbled this year due to first-year troubles with three key models: the Explorer, Focus and Fiesta.

Chrysler Group LLC was the one standout among the Detroit automakers. Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep all went up in the rankings, and now Chrysler - knocked for years for its poorly built cars - has the most reliable of the American brands, in its Jeep line.

General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet brand held steady at No. 17, and its Chevy Volt gasoline-electric car earned a coveted "most-recommended" rating. But GM overall slipped in the annual reliability survey, released Tuesday in Detroit. It was dragged down by Buick and Cadillac, both of which dropped six notches from last year, to No. 24 and No. 25, respectively.

Top 20 Car Sales by Make

11/19/2011  News Source: AutoObserver
Graph shows top 20 Makes in Sales for October 2011
Read full story from AutoObserver

Toyota recalls 550,000 cars for steering issue

11/10/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it is recalling 550,000 vehicles worldwide, including 420,000 in the U.S., over a steering issue.

Toyota has now recalled about 3 million vehicles in the United States this year.

The recall includes the 2004 Toyota Avalon, 2004-05 Camry, 2004-05 Highlander, 2006 Highlander hybrid, 2004-05 Sienna, 2004 ES330, 2004-05 RX330 and 2006 RX400h. The recall covers 283,200 Toyota and 137,000 Lexus vehicles to replace the crankshaft pulley on the V6 engine.
See the Toyota Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Pontiac Recalls 38,000 G8 Sedans

11/7/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Christopher Jensen
General Motors is recalling about 38,000 of its 2008-9 Pontiac G8 sedans because the passenger-side air bag might not deploy properly in a crash to protect a small woman, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In a document posted on the agency’s Web site Saturday, G.M. said the problem could allow head injuries to a small woman, defined as being in the fifth percentile.
Read full story from New York Times

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

Government releases car theft lists

11/4/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Audi S8 has highest rate, but Camry leads in sheer numbers.
The Audi S8 topped the government's list of highest theft rates among new cars in 2009. And the Toyota Camry, which was 2009's best-selling car, was the most stolen new car that year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracked the theft rate among all new 2009 passenger vehicles stolen in 2009, and just released its report. The Audi S8 had the highest theft rate: 8.81 thefts per 1,000 vehicles produced. Just two out of 227 cars produced were stolen.

Ford Motor Co.'s Shelby GT Mustang had the second highest theft rate with 8.61 vehicles per 1,000 stolen; five out of 581 total cars were stolen. Rounding out the top five: BMW M5 (7.58 per 1,000), Dodge Charger (6.47 per 1,000) and Honda S2000 (5.60 per 1,000).

Chrysler sales spikes 27% - GM and Ford also Up

11/1/2011  News Source: Detroit News
Ford Motor Co. sales climbed 6 percent in October, while General Motors Co. sales were up just 2 percent from a year ago, and Chrysler Group LLC sales shot up 27 percent. Sales by Japanese makers were a mixed bag for the month, while Korean carmakers continue to excel.

Ford sold 167,803 vehicles during October, led by strong truck and SUV sales, with utilities jumping 38 percent and pickup sales climbing 8 percent.

Volvo Recalls Almost 20,000 Cars

10/29/2011  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
Swedish car maker Volvo is recalling certain vehicles from the 2006 through 2012 model years because they may not have the right labels for tire inflation pressure.

The recall reflects the fact that a decreasing number of new cars come from the factory with spare tires. It also suggests that drivers do not look after their cars’ maintenance as closely as they used to.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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

BMW recalling 32,000 vehicles over engine fire risks

10/29/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
BMW AG said Saturday it is recalling 32,000 vehicles to replace potentially faulty electric auxiliary water pumps that can overheat and cause a vehicle fire.

The German automaker said the recall covers 2008-2011 5-Series, 5-Series Gran Turismo, 7-Series, X5 SAV, and X6 SAV models that have eight- or 12-cylinder turbocharged engines.

The recall comes after BMW found at least 102 cases of pump failures worldwide - including two engine-compartment fires. BMW said it is unaware of any crashes or injuries as a result of the condition.
See the BMW Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Auto Loyalty Down As Buyers Seek Gadgets

10/28/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: Danny King
Technology is trumping brand loyalty as younger buyers increase their presence in the U.S. new-car market, a new study has found. Prospective U.S. car buyers are less likely now than a decade ago to replace their vehicles with one from the same make as enhancements such as vehicle connectivity have them brand-hopping.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Ford's reliability stumbles in Consumer Reports' survey

10/25/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Bradford Wernle
Ford brand, in recent years a paragon of the Detroit 3's improved reliability, stumbled in this year's Consumer Reports magazine's reliability survey, while Jeep took the top ranking among domestic brands.

Ford's drop from 10th in the survey to 20th in 2011 was caused by two factors: teething problems with new and redesigned models - the Explorer, Fiesta and Focus - and problems with new technologies, the MyFord Touch infotainment system and an automated manual transmission on the Fiesta and Focus.
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Jaguar recalls 18,000 cars over cruise control

10/24/2011  News Source: CIO   by: Leo King
Jaguar has recalled nearly 18,000 X-type cars after it discovered a major software fault, which meant drivers might not be able to turn off cruise control.

The problem lies with engine management control software developed in-house by Jaguar. The problematic software is only installed on diesel engine X-Types, which were all produced between 2006 and 2010.
Read full story from CIO

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

Electric vehicles bring shoppers to showrooms

10/23/2011  News Source: Los Angeles Times   by: Jerry Hirsch
Electric vehicles are giving automakers a boost - in marketing appeal.

Although sales haven't exactly been electrifying, the vehicles are helping auto companies draw more shoppers to their showrooms, something that would not have happened without the curiosity over the new autos.

"There is such a halo effect," said Oliver Hazimeh, an automotive industry consultant at PwC's PRTM Management Consulting. "These cars appeal to the cool tech-savvy consumer segment."
Read full story from Los Angeles Times

Ford to offer text-message reading for Sync

10/22/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Danielle Emerson
Ford Motor Co. plans to integrate a text-message-reading application into its Sync infotainment system for drivers.

The application, known as Message Access Profile or MAP, will work with some smartphones and can be accessed from the steering wheel, like many other Sync applications.

September Auto Sales Defy Economic Headwinds

10/18/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: AutoObserver Staff
September vehicle sales once again showed signs of charting their own course, demonstrating strength that was a bit surprising given the deepening of the general economic sluggishness across America. September sales reached about 1,053,129 units, up about 10 percent from a year earlier but down about 2 percent from August.

Still, the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of sales for the month inched upward to about 13 million units, the best pace since April. The results show a stubborn and even improved resilience in auto sales that seems to be divorced from the glumness enveloping most of the U.S. economy these days.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Steve Jobs' Vision Spread To Cars, Auto Industry

10/7/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: Michelle Krebs
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday, leaves an imprint on many aspects of our lives, and today's cars are no exception. As's technology editor Doug Newcomb points out, no external devices (nor any single company) has had as much impact on car infotainment as Apple's iPod and iPhone.

I would add to that list the iPad, with the potential of its impact on the car and the auto industry nowhere close to being fully explored and realized.

As Newcomb explains, the iPod made CDs obsolete when it debuted a decade ago, and it soon became the default device for carrying music into the car.
Read full story from AutoObserver

VW recalls 168,000 cars for fuel leaks

10/6/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Volkswagen of America is recalling 168,000 2009-2012 diesel vehicles over concerns fuel injector leaks could start an engine fire.

The German automaker said in a notice posted Thursdayon the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website it is calling back its 2009-2012 Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Golf and Audi A3 that have its 2.0 TDI diesel engine. The recall includes 161,144 VWs and 7,131 Audi vehicles. No fires, crashes or injuries have been reported.

VW said about 20 percent of vehicles recalled have fuel injection lines with potentially faulty material. The automaker said one supplier used a faulty part in assembling fuel injectors - and the failures only related to one of four injector lines. The company began investigating the issue in March 2010 after a warranty return of a single report of fuel leaks.
See the Volkswagen Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Fiat Hit A Groove With J-Lo Ad

9/28/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: AutoObserver Staff
Chrysler Group LLC made a splash with the automotive marketing community when it signed pop singing sensation Jennifer Lopez to push the 2012 Fiat 500 to always tiny-car-wary U.S. buyers. For the past two weeks, it's been hard to turn on the television without catching Fiat's controversial and widely panned new 30-second spot featuring Lopez swerving and dodging through a city of pursuing, adoring fans. But just how much has the ad caught the attention of viewers and - more importantly - car buyers?

According to an analysis of web traffic at (below), consideration for the Fiat 500 has climbed 31 percent since the J-Lo ad for the 500 (bottom) debuted on September 12 during ESPN's Monday Night Football. Since then, the most notable one-day spike for the vehicle came on September 18, when the ad aired throughout the day on NFL telecasts.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Feds investigate air bag issue on Liberty

9/28/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Reports of improper deployments involve 2002-03 Jeep models
Federal regulators are investigating nearly 400,000 Jeep Liberty SUVs over reports that air bags deployed without warning, causing five injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a notice posted on its website Tuesday that its preliminary investigation involves 387,356 Jeep Liberty SUVs from the 2002-03 model years. The agency received seven complaints. Four were from owners alleging that the driver frontal air bag improperly deployed and three owners reported that both front bags deployed.
See the Jeep Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Car Recalls Can Drive You Crazy

9/25/2011  News Source: Moorpark news   by: Joan Trossman Bien
Automobile owners aren't always notified of recalls, so checking occasionally might be a good idea.

I just found out that my 2007 Honda CR-V has been recalled for a transmission software repair. How did I learn about it? I certainly wasn't contacted by Honda, as is required by law.

I happened to see it in some research I was doing on my husband's car. In fact, the recall took place at the beginning of August. Since I haven't had any problems with my CR-V, I am wary about this fix for a problem I haven't experienced. I will have a talk with my mechanic, the one who does not work for Honda.
Read full story from Moorpark news

Truck And SUV Incentives Primed

9/22/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: AutoObserver Staff
Vehicle manufacturers are offering the best deals on new pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles ahead of the winter season, according to’s TMV Deals of the Month. “Coming off a particularly brutal winter last year, many shoppers in cold-weather climates will consider a truck or SUV this year to navigate the snow and slush so many dealers are selling down their 2011 models over the next couple of months,” said Edmunds Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell.

The largest overall cash incentive offers are for pickup trucks, with the Dodge Dakota and Nissan Titan (above) standing out. Chrysler is offering $4,500 in cash incentives on the 2011 Dakota, the last of which rolled down its Michigan assembly line a few weeks ago. About 3 million of the Dakota midsize trucks were sold from 1986 to 2011.

Nissan is offering $4,250 in cash incentives on its full-size 2011 Nissan Titan. General Motors is offering zero-percent financing on its 2011 Chevrolet Silverado, which will be replaced with a new version next year. The 2011 Suzuki Equator, which is based on the Nissan Frontier, also has zero-percent financing available. In the SUV category, automakers are offering the best deals on luxury models.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Honda, Subaru Recall Vehicles for Seatbelt Failures

9/14/2011  News Source: US Recall News   by: Linda Dailey Paulson
A new, dual recall announcement has been issued for 311,000 Honda SUVs and half a million Subaru vehicles. The automobiles were found to have safety-related problems that might cause serious injuries to drivers and their passengers.

Front seat belts in the 2009-11 Honda Pilot may not restrain occupants in the event of a crash. Honda stated in a release that it was aware that the seat belt stitching "may be incomplete or missing" on the lap section of the front belts, and "in a crash, affected seat belts may become disconnected from the anchor webbing, increasing the risk of injury."
Read full story from US Recall News

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

Volkswagen Recalls Jettas for Exhaust Pipes

9/13/2011  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
Exhaust Pipes Could Cause Burns
Volkswagen of America Inc. is recalling certain Jetta sedans from the 2011 and 2012 model years because they have decorative exhaust-pipe tips that have allegedly caused leg burns to people who accidentally brushed against them.

The recall includes vehicles built from March 18, 2010 through Aug. 22, 2011. The car maker said some of the cars came with stainless steel exhaust tips that were installed during the importation process. Volkswagen says 30,294 cars are affected.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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

Bush and Obama: Side by Side at Ground Zero

9/11/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Mark Landlewr and Eric Schimtt
Amid all the dignitaries who gather Sunday on the site of the World Trade Center to pay tribute to those who died there 10 years ago, two will inevitably stand out: President Obama and former President George W. Bush, whose terms in office are bookends for considering how America has changed since Sept. 11, 2001, particularly in its response to terrorism.
Read full story from New York Times

Honda Recalls 100,000 CR-Vs, CR-Zs

9/6/2011  News Source:   by: Mark Hachman
Honda Motor Co. said over the weekend that it will recall a combined total of about 100,000 CR-V and CR-Z vehicles within the United States to fix defects, none of which have been involved in injuries or deaths.

Honda said it would voluntarily recall 80,111 CR-V vehicles from the 2006 model year within the United State to replace the power windows master switch.

In addition, Honda will recall 5,626 CR-Z vehicles from the 2011 model year to update the software that controls the hybrid electric motor.
Read full story from

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

Honda to recall about 960,000 Fits, other models

9/5/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Reuters
Honda Motor Co. said today it would recall about 960,000 Fit subcompacts and other models globally to repair defects including malfunctioning power window switches.

No accidents have been reported due to the defects.
See the honda Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Toyota starts push to keep Camry on top

8/29/2011  News Source:
The Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in America for nearly 15 years, its reputation for reliability keeping it on top even when the carmaker was hurt by major safety recalls.

But its lead has shrunk dramatically. Feeling the pressure, Toyota has unveiled the 2012 Camry, its first redesign of the sedan in five years. While Toyota hopes to create buzz by lowering the Camry's price, improving its fuel economy and adding new features, it may not be enough to keep the Camry No 1 in the increasingly competitive market for midsize sedans.
Read full story from

The Toyota Giant Awakens

8/25/2011  News Source:   by: Roy Exum
It's a big deal in the car industry when a new model is introduced. Everybody is excited about the appearance changes, the obvious engineering and comfort improvements, plus the renewed dedication to the brand. But all those features barely mattered when the new 2012 Toyota Camry was unveiled in Kentucky this week.

In what has becomes a warm personal experience for me, when Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda drove the first bright-red Camry off the assembly line in Georgetown on Tuesday, it heralded the rebirth of a global giant. The vicious recall of last year is over. The company has also endured a heart-wrenching tsunami that hit Japan in mid-March but just this week Toyota resumed the bounce of a heavyweight world champion.
Read full story from

Ford and Toyota to Collaborate on Hybrid Trucks

8/22/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: Bill Visnic
Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. announced today the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop a hybrid-electric powertrain earmarked specifically for rear-wheel-drive light pickup trucks and SUVs.

Although specifics remain sketchy, Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of global product development, said in a press conference to announce the collaboration today that the two companies are aiming for vehicles using the new hybrid propulsion to be on the road "sometime later this decade." The new agreement also includes provision for the two companies to collaborate on the architecture and standards for next-generation telematics systems.
Read full story from AutoObserver

World Vehicle Population Tops 1 Billion Units

8/17/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: AutoObserver Staff
The number of vehicles in operation worldwide surpassed the 1 billion-unit mark in 2010 for the first time ever, according to research by industry trade journal Ward's, which looked at government-reported registrations of cars, trucks of all kinds and buses. Global registrations jumped from 980 million units in 2009 to 1.015 billion in 2010.

Ward's reports that the 3.6 percent rise in the global vehicle population was the largest percentage increase since 2000, while the 35.6 million year-to-year unit increase was the second-biggest increase in overall volume ever.

The increase was largely attributable to China, where vehicle registrations jumped 27.5 percent - to more than 78 million vehicles on the road, pushing ahead of Japan for the first time and accounting for nearly half of the 2010 global increase.

India and Brazil contributed to the other half of the global increase. U.S. registrations grew less than 1 percent, but at 239.8 million vehicles on the road the United States still has the world's largest vehicle population.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Motorists holding on to cars longer in uncertain economy

8/16/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: Andrea Rumbaugh
Natalie Crafts and her boyfriend have been sharing her 1999 Ford Taurus for the past three months since his car became unreliable. Tired of swapping keys and coordinating schedules, Crafts decided to shop recently for a new vehicle.

But not even her friends-and-family discount could ease the shock of a $27,000 price tag on one Ford Fusion she looked at. A new car will have to wait.

"The way the economy is, you can't guarantee you'll have a job," the 45-year-old Dearborn resident said. "And to get locked into payments, I can't afford it."

While new automobile sales are up nearly 11 percent for the year, Crafts is among the many drivers who are keeping their vehicles longer.

While the trend appears troubling for automakers, experts say it has had little impact on new vehicle sales.

Chevy's Iconic brand leaves pop culture imprint

8/13/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: Susan Whitall
In the 100 years that Chevrolets have roamed U.S. roads and byways, the car has been portrayed in movies, TV and music as the modest, everyman vehicle that anyone could afford. But in pop culture, its racier models were usually signifiers of reckless speed, eternal youth and a persistent raffishness.

It might be a sleek Corvette, its shape as familiar and iconic as a Coke bottle, hurtling through a drive fast/die young teen movie, or a muddy Chevy truck driven by a feckless boyfriend in a country song. Or maybe it was a 1964 Impala made over into a low rider or a hip-hopper's tricked-out ride, but even old Chevys retain a sort of rakish allure as an affordable dream of freedom and the open road.

Certainly the 1955-57 Chevy, the 1959-64 Impala SS, the Corvette, the Chevelle and the Camaro earned their street racing stripes on Woodward Avenue over the years. It wasn't intended that way by General Motors, not at first, anyway. In the late '40s and early '50s, the automaker saw Chevrolet as an "inexpensive" (yes, they used that word in ads) family car in which Dad, Mom, junior and sis - or penny-pinching singles or tightwad oldsters - could set off for adventures across the U.S.

GM recalls 15,000 new Buick and Chevy models

8/12/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: David Shepardson
General Motors Co. is recalling about 15,000 new vehicles in North America to address two separate issues - reprogramming software in some Buick LaCrosse vehicles and inspect power steering hoses in Chevrolet Impalas.

The Detroit automaker said it is recalling 11,905 2012 Chevrolet Impalas in the United States and Canada to inspect for proper installation of the power steering hose, which, if misrouted, could be damaged and spray fluid onto hot parts of the engine creating potential for a fire.

GM knows of no crashes, injuries or complaints related to this condition.
See the Buick Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Chrysler announces 'No Payment for 90 Days' program

8/10/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: Bryce G. Hoffman
Chrysler Group LLC announced a new "No Payments for 90 Days" incentive program Wednesday for all 2011 and 2012 Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram Truck models, as part of the company's summer clearance event. Vehicles purchased through the program must be financed through Ally Financial, and the offer is only available to qualified customers.

The company also announced additional incentives on 2012 model year vehicles, including $500 cash back on a Chrysler 200 sedan, $1,000 on a Jeep Liberty, $500 on a Dodge Avenger or Journey, and up to $1,500 on a Ram pickup.

New deals on 2011 models are being offered, too, including 3-year financing as low as zero percent or $2,000 cash back on a Chrysler 300, 300C or Dodge Charger.

Plunging Wall Street hits auto industry hard

8/8/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Auto News Staff
GM down 6.6%, Ford 8.4%, AutoNation 6.5%
On a day when stocks on Wall Street plunged, the auto industry wasn't spared and, in some cases, fared worse than market indexes.

Investors shed auto stocks as Standard & Poor's decision on Friday to downgrade the long-term U.S. credit rating, compounded with sluggish unemployment figures and potential increases in interest rates, may slow the industry's recovery, analysts said.

Chrysler recalls minivans over air bag issue

8/5/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Chrysler Group LLC is recalling nearly 300,000 minivans in the United States over concerns that air bags may deploy inadvertently, the automaker said Thursday.

The company is recalling 299,718 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Grand Voyager and Chrysler Town & Country minivans to replace a module in the United States.

Chrysler said a leak from the air-conditioning and heating system might cause the Occupant Restraint Control module to fail, which could lead to an inadvertent air bag deployment without warning or the illumination of the air bag warning light.
See the Dodge Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

GM posts $2.5B profit

8/4/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Mike Colias
General Motors rode strong pricing, market-share gains in the United States and globally, and profits in every region of the world to its sixth consecutive quarterly profit since exiting bankruptcy in mid-2009.

GM today posted a net profit of $2.5 billion for the second quarter, nearly double the $1.3 billion in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue grew 19 percent to $39.4 billion.

Carmakers likely to back new fuel rules

7/26/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
At least five automakers are expected to endorse a dramatic boost in fuel efficiency requirements to 54.5 mpg by 2025, two people briefed on the matter said Tuesday night.

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC - along with Asian automakers Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor Co. — are expected to announce their support for a revised proposal by the Obama administration to dramatically hike fuel-efficiency standards, the two auto officials said.

Ford to recall more than 25,000 trucks and SUVs

7/21/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Ford Motor Co. is recalling more than 20,000 Ranger pickup trucks -because a defective switch could cause the turn signal, tail lights and brake lights to fail.

Ford said the recall affects about 20,000 2011 Ford Ranger pickups built between January and April at its Twin Cities Assembly Plant. It also includes about 6,000 vehicles that were serviced with a defective switch including some 2004-2011 Ranger, 2002-2005 Excursion SUVs, and 2002-2007 F-250, 350, 450 and 550 trucks.

The company told dealers on July 8 to stop selling the vehicles with the defective parts until they were repaired. The vehicles being recalled that were previously repaired with faulty parts were serviced between January and June of this year.
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Ford recalling '07 Five Hundreds, Mercury Montegos

7/18/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Ford Motor Co. said today it is recalling nearly 3,000 2007 Five Hundred and Mercury Montego sedans to replace the fuel tanks.

In a notice posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, Ford said the fuel tanks on 2,945 vehicles may not have proper welds between the fuel tank and fuel filler neck.

As a result, some may not have enough strength in the event of a severe rear impact. An improper weld could result in a crack in the joint which could cause a fuel odor or fuel leak. Ford said minor fuel leaks have been reported in a small number of warranty claims.
See the ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Five features every new car should have

7/16/2011  News Source: The Detroit News   by: Scott Burgess
Here are five features that every car and truck should have. Not for safety or the environment, but simply because these are some of the "best features found in vehicles today". They are mostly inexpensive and just make driving a little bit easier.

No. 1: The capless fuel cap
Ford Motor Co. began deploying this neat little feature a few years ago. Ford calls it Easy Fuel, and eventually this amenity will make it on nearly every vehicle it manufactures. Instead of a traditional twist-off cap, the capless system starts with a cap with a hole in it. The hole opens up when you push the fuel pump nozzle through.
No. 2: Auto up and down windows
Every passenger deserves the ability to roll his or her windows up and down with a single touch.
No. 3: Bluetooth connectivity
This is a feature more carmakers are starting to offer, and it's likely to keep them ahead of the government. It also means hands-free phone operation, which is much safer than hands-free driving. The government may not require this feature yet, but give Uncle Sam time. It's just too good of an idea to pass up.
No. 4: Three blink blinkers
The three-blink blinkers are part of your turn signal and mean a slight touch to the indicator will make your turn signal blink three times then stop. The idea is that during highway driving, you can push on your turn signal indicator and move to the other lane before three blinks are up. If you've ever driven behind someone on the highway with their blinker stuck in left, it's easy to understand why this feature should be mandatory.
No. 5: Blind spot detection
Typically, in each exterior mirror, there's a small warning light of some sort. Using either cameras or a radar system, the lights gently light up when something is in your blind spot. If you turn your turn signal indicator to move over, the car will issue an audible warning tell you that may not be the best idea.

280,000 Dodge Ram pickups Recalled

7/13/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Chrysler Group LLC said it is recalling 280,000 Dodge Ram pickups worldwide to replace a steering component that could break and increase the risk of a crash.

The recall includes about 242,000 in the United States, 35,000 in Canada - and 8,500 in Mexico and the rest of the world, spokesman Vince Muniga said.

This is the second recall since December by Chrysler covering Dodge pickups to replace a left outer tie rod. Muniga said "misalignment that could cause wear and result in a weakening and fracture of the left tie-rod end."

The Auburn Hills automaker said in documents posted this morning on a government website that the recall is to replace the left outer tie rod and perform a front-end alignment as needed. The condition tends to occur during low speed parking-lot type maneuvers when the driver is making a tight turn, the company said.

The new recall covers 168,458 2008-11 Ram 2500, 3500, 3500 4x4 and 3500 Cab Chassis 4x2 models, along with the 2008 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4x4
See the Dodge Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Police crackdowns reduce driver texting, cell phone use

7/11/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
High-profile police efforts to crack down on driver texting and talking on hand-held cell phones deter large numbers of violations, a government report released today said.

Nationwide, 34 states including Michigan and the District of Columbia have enacted texting bans. Nine states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all hand-held cell phone use while driving.

Impala owners sue GM over alleged defect

7/6/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
A class-action suit has been filed against General Motors Co., complaining that GM fixed rear-end problems on police versions of 2007-08 Impalas, but not those owned by some 400,000 other drivers.

The problem, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Detroit, causes owners to burn through rear tires. The suit was brought on behalf of a Pennsylvania woman and wants GM to replace potentially faulty rear suspension rods. The Detroit-based automaker sold 423,000 Impalas over the two-year period.

The suit - if successful - could cost GM millions of dollars in replaced tires and parts. It's the latest challenge by owners to automakers who limit the scope of auto recalls or service campaigns. It's also sparked dozens of angry complaints from owners.
See the Chevrolet Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

GM recalling 10,000 trucks, SUVs

7/2/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
General Motors Co. said today it is recalling more than10,000 trucks and SUVs worldwide to address two problems.

GM said it is recalling 9,215 2011 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon vehicles that could roll away when shifted into park, because of a faulty part produced in China.

GM dealers will install new automatic transmission adjustment clips. The problem was discovered when a vehicle at a GM assembly plant wouldn't start. The recall includes 6,700 vehicles sold in the United States. Neither involves any crashes.

GM will notify owners July 19.
See the Chevrolet Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

GM, Ford, Chrysler advance as market recovers from May dip

7/1/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: David Phillips
The recent drop in gas prices helped boost sales of GM's big pickups last month. The Chevy Camaro, left, remains a hot-seller, with Junes sales up 8 percent.

Automakers, aided by a rise in pickup demand and new models such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Fiat 500 and Ford Focus small cars, posted higher U.S. sales last month.

Sales rose 11 percent at GM, with car demand climbing 28 percent and pickup truck volume up 15 percent. Ford said sales increased 10 percent from a year earlier, when Volvo and Mercury were included in the automaker's results.

Robust demand for Jeeps and a 35 percent jump in Ram truck sales helped the Chrysler Group's June volume advance 30 percent.

Toyota recalls 82,200 hybrids

6/29/2011  News Source: Automotive News
TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. said today it will recall 45,500 Highlander Hybrid and 36,700 Lexus RX 400h SUVs in the U.S. because some transistors were inadequately soldered.

The automaker is working on obtaining the necessary replacement parts and will notify owners in mid-July, the company said in a statement today. The cars to be recalled were produced between 2005 and 2006.
See the Toyota Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

High-tech savvy turns Mexico's auto industry into a major global player

6/27/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Stephen Downer
Mexico, once mainly a source of low-cost, low-skill auto parts, has matured into a sophisticated manufacturing and export hub.

Mexico passed Canada in vehicle production in 2008 and widened its lead last year. Seven automakers - Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG operate 12 assembly plants there.

And while the United States is rebounding from recession, Mexico is bouncing back faster. Its auto exports to the United States, Central America and South America are surging.

Feds set sights on 56.2 mpg by 2025

6/25/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
The Obama administration is considering requiring cars and light trucks to average 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025 - a move that could boost the cost of vehicles by $2,100 or more. Top federal regulators and White House aides disclosed their initial proposal - requiring 5 percent average annual increases in efficiency over an eight-year period - in separate, private meetings this week with Detroit's Big Three automakers, four people briefed on the matter told The Detroit News.

Released Oil Reserves to Keep Gas Prices in Check

6/23/2011  News Source: AutoObserver
The United States will lead an international effort to release 60 million barrels of petroleum reserves to world markets, replacing oil production lost because of the conflict in Libya, the International Energy Agency announced in Paris Thursday. The U.S. will release half of the world total from the rest of 28 other member states.

"The action is intended to keep gas prices lower," said Lacey Plache, chief economist for "The effort could be countered by rising demand for oil, but prices would still be better than if there was no additional supply." The U.S. Energy Information Administration is projecting that gas prices will remain closer to the current $3.70 per gallon or lower, rather than return to $4 or more.

Honda Predicts 63% Profit Drop

6/14/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: Michelle Krebs
Honda forecasts a 63-percent decline in profits for its 2012 fiscal year, due to production disruptions caused by Japan's March 11 earthquake combined with the strong yen and higher research and development spending.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Honda predicted: net income may plummet to 195 billion yen ($2.4 billion) from 534 billion yen ($6.5 billion) in the 2011 fiscal year, which ended March 31; global sales could fall 6 percent to 3.3 million vehicles, with U.S. sales and market share dipping; revenues are expected to drop 7.1 percent;and operating profit is forecasted to decline 65 percent.

Honda's expected profit decline - its first in three years - is more than analysts predicted and is steeper than the 31-percent anticipated loss announced by Toyota Motor Corp. last week.
Read full story from AutoObserver

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Used-Car Prices Continue to Rise

6/11/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Micheline Maynard
Prices for used cars have been on an unprecedented upswing, and analysts do not foresee a leveling off during summer. The conditions are upsetting the long-held assumption that used cars are always better deals than new ones.

Manheim Consulting, which tracks used-car prices, noted that its index of wholesale used-car prices was up 5.6 percent in May relative to May 2010. Meanwhile, prices at auto auctions for compact cars rose 20 percent last month relative to a year ago, reflecting shortages and high gas prices. The wholesale prices of midsize cars also rose 14.4 percent.

By contrast, prices for SUV's dropped 5.8 percent in May, while prices for pickups fell 4 percent.
Read full story from New York Times

Cadillac recalls 47,000 SRXs to fix air bag software

6/10/2011  News Source: Associated Press
DETROIT - General Motors Co. is recalling more than 47,000 Cadillac SRX crossover vehicles in the U.S. because of a problem with the passenger side air bags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in documents posted on its website Friday, said that the right side head protection air bag won't inflate in a crash if no one is in the front seat.
Read full story from Associated Press

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

Case for tougher mileage rules

6/6/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Angela Greiling Keane
WASHINGTON - Gasoline prices that have risen as much as 30 percent this year and are predicted to climb further in coming years are helping proponents of higher U.S. fuel-economy standards make their case.

President Obama's administration has until Sept. 30 to write a proposal that may force carmakers to more than double average fuel efficiency to as much as 62 miles per gallon by 2025.

Steering Difficulty Prompts Recall of 2001-2003 Toyota Priuses

6/3/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Christopher Jensen
Toyota says a problem with electric power steering is prompting a recall of about 52,000 Priuses from 2001-3 in the United States, part of a global action affecting 106,000 vehicles.

In a news release early Wednesday, the automaker said the electric power steering pinion-shaft attachment nuts could loosen and "over time, the customer will gradually notice significant increased steering effort when making a left turn."
Read full story from New York Times

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

Auto industry resurgence stems from Obama intervention

6/2/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Niel Roland
WASHINGTON -- The auto industry shed 400,000 jobs in 2008 and would have lost at least another 1 million if the Obama administration hadn't intervened to support General Motors and Chrysler, a White House report said today.

"When President Obama took office, the American automobile industry was on the brink of collapse," said the National Economic Council, which advises the president on U.S. and global economic policy. "Two years later, the American auto industry is mounting a comeback."

Auto Sales Collide Head-On With Recovery

6/1/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: Bill Visnic
May is supposed to be the wheelhouse of the spring selling season, but figures from the earliest-reporting companies today indicate sales for the major automakers are down or flat. A recovery that looked unstoppable just a few months ago had a head-on collision in May with everything from the inventory consequences of Japan’s earthquake to what could be freshly reluctant consumers and businesses as new concerns arise about the depth of the economic recovery.

The sole member of the Big Six automakers to enjoy a sales increase in May was the Chrysler Group LLC: its 115,363 deliveries marked a 10.1-percent improvement compared with last May, propelled by a 55-percent hike from the Jeep brand, which also is up 44 percent for the year. Sales at the Chrysler brand were down 21 percent, however, to just 16,364 units, and the Dodge division was off by 5 percent, its sales buoyed by the presence of the redesigned Durango crossover, which posted 4,358 sales compared to last May's sales of two units.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Detroit's Rebound Is Built on Smaller Cars

5/30/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Bill Vlasic
DETROIT- After years of being outgunned by Japanese rivals, the American auto industry has made small cars a central part of its strategy, seeking to capitalize on a fundamental shift in the preferences of consumers in an era of fast-rising gas prices.

By refocusing on small cars and de-emphasizing the gas-guzzlers that had long sustained the industry, General Motors and Ford in particular are preserving jobs and positioning themselves to prosper.
Read full story from New York Times

Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall on Tundra Trucks

5/29/2011  News Source: Toyota USA Newsroom
TORRANCE, Calif. Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc, today announced it will conduct a voluntary safety recall on approximately 51,000, 2011 model year Tundra trucks to inspect the rear drive shaft. The rear drive shaft in an estimated 0.05 percent of the vehicles may include a component (slip yoke) that could break due to improper casting during the foundry process.

Toyota is aware of one drive shaft slip yoke failure in a customer-owned vehicle. There are no reports of accidents or injuries associated with this condition. No other Lexus or Toyota vehicles are involved in this recall.
Read full story from Toyota USA Newsroom

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

EPA Unveils Smart New Fuel Economy Labels

5/28/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: Scott Dogget
The new federal fuel economy labels unveiled this week by the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency are the product of lengthy and often contentious debate over the best way to provide consumers with valuable emissions and efficiency information, yet, rather remarkably, they are being praised by virtually all of the concerned parties. The new labels will be affixed to both conventional gasoline powered and next-generation cars such as plug-in hybrids, battery-electric vehicles and fuel-cell EVs starting with the 2013 model year and represent the most dramatic overhaul to fuel-economy labels since the federal government began requiring them more than three decades ago. The new labels will for the first time provide:
Read full story from AutoObserver

Problems with used cars that are subject to recalls

5/26/2011  News Source: ABC Action News
Safety experts call them potentially deadly secrets: problems with used cars that manufacturers have already determined should be fixed in a recall, but many times there are defects the salesman, and the buyer know nothing about.

These aren’t little problems we’re talking about. The wheels could fall off, or the steering might freeze while driving.
Read full story from ABC Action News

Obama orders federal government to buy high-mpg cars

5/23/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Washington - Expect to see your taxpayer dollars at work more frequently behind the wheel of a Fiesta, Volt or Cruze, and less often in an Impala, Taurus or other full-sized car.

The Obama administration ordered federal agencies Tuesday to buy more small cars and fuel-efficient models. No more full-size sedans, President Barack Obama said in a memo, unless absolutely necessary.

Furthermore, the president said, government agencies should limit "optional equipment to what is essential to meet agency mission." Obama is exempting "vehicles used for law enforcement, protective, emergency response, or military tactical operations," such as his Secret Service unit.

2012 Honda Civic Recalled for Fuel Line Defect

5/20/2011  News Source: Edmunds AutoObserver   by: AutoObserver Staff
American Honda Motor Co. Inc. is recalling a small number of it's 2012 Civic little more than a month after the redesigned, ninth-generation version of the nation's top-selling compact car hit dealer showrooms. Honda said it is voluntarily recalling 1,156 Civics to replace the "fuel feed line, would potentially could leak a small amount of fuel."
Read full story from Edmunds AutoObserver

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

The Real World 30 Plus MPG Club

5/19/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: John O'Dell
Advertising a car with 40 mpg fuel economy is at the top of most automakers' "to-do" lists these days. With gasoline looking to settle in at the $3.75 to $4 a gallon range, fuel efficiency has climbed from the bottom of most consumer priority rankings to become one of the main influences in new-vehicle sales. But there’s a truth-in-advertising issue. Most cars that promise 40 mpg only offer it on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) highway cycle. Except for Hyundai's Accent line and Volkswagen's diesels (Golf TDI, above), the 40-mpg club is composed mainly of specially-equipped, limited-production, high-efficiency compact and subcompact models.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Vehicle Safety Not Easily Defined

5/18/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: Jeremy Anwyl
It wasn't so long ago that a popular adage in the auto business was that “safety doesn’t sell.” I am not sure how true that ever was, but it is certainly not the case today. Consumer wants obviously vary, but for many, safety is the most important attribute influencing their purchase choice. Or stated more clearly, they would like to be able to use safety as a reason to buy. It is actually harder to do this than you might think.

The truth is that safety is not easy to define. Many consumers fall back on crash test scores as a default measure of safety. But when you talk with these same consumers what they are really looking for is a way to rate their probabilities. This could be along three attributes: a measure of how likely a vehicle choice is to be in an accident; a measure of how likely a driver is to be injured in an accident; and a measure of how likely a driver is to die in an accident.
Read full story from AutoObserver

Google Betting On Nevada For Driverless Cars

5/16/2011  News Source: AutoObserver   by: AutoObserver Staff
Technology giant Google is lobbying for legislation that would make Nevada the first state where driverless cars could be legally operated on public roads.

Two bills in the Nevada legislature would provide for the licensing and testing of autonomous vehicles, as well as an exemption from the ban on distracted driving to allow a driver to send text messages from behind the wheel. A vote on the proposals may come as early as June.
Read full story from AutoObserver

13 Ways to Save on Gas this Summer

5/14/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Michelle Higgins
HEADING for the highway this summer? The great American road trip will cost you more than last year thanks to high fuel prices.

The price of gas on average in the United States was $3.96 earlier this month, up from $2.91 a gallon last summer, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. And prices have been topping $4 at some service stations in California, Connecticut, Illinois and New York.
Read full story from New York Times

Chevrolet Recalls 2011 Colorado

5/12/2011  News Source: News Source   by: Rachel Smith
General Motors is recalling 2011 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyons for faulty windshield wipers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains, “Some of these vehicles have the condition in which the windshield wiper motor crank arm nut may not be tightened to specification.

When the wipers are operated with a build-up of snow or ice, or if the wipers are operated on a dry windshield, the nut could loosen. If there is sufficient loosening of the nut, the wipers could become inoperative. The recall applies to 4,674 vehicles.

If a windshield wiper stops working during extreme weather conditions, visibility could decrease. As a result, the driver is more likely to get in an accident.
Read full story from News Source

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

Audi Recalls A6, S6 and RS6

5/10/2011  News Source: US News   by: Jim Sharifi
If you own or are thinking about buying an Audi with a more than a few miles on it, this recall might affect you. Audi's parent company, Volkswagen is recalling 2001-04 A6, 2002-03 S6 and 2033 RS6 models because a potential issue with the fuel system could lead to a fuel leak.

The problem in affected cars is linked to the fuel tank rollover valve. "The aging of the plastic material in the fuel tank rollover valve combined with bending stress from the aluminum ventilation line to the rollover valve nipple may lead to cracking of the nipple," says NHTSA. "If this happens, a fuel leak may result."
Read full story from US News

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

Possible fuel tank problem on F-150s

5/9/2011  News Source: Associated Press   by: Tom Krisher
U.S. safety regulators are investigating a fuel tank problem that could affect more than 2.7 million Ford F-150 pickup trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that the steel straps holding up the truck's gas tank can rust and break, possibly causing a fuel spill and fire. No injuries have been reported from the possible defect.

The agency is looking into trucks from the 1997 through 2001 model years. NHTSA's investigations often lead to recalls. NHTSA began looking at the fuel tank problem last year after it received 32 complaints.

NHTSA and Ford have now received 243 reports of the tanks falling. In two incidents, a fire started when the fuel tank fell.
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Used-car price index hits record high

5/7/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Arlena Sawyers
Tighter new and used vehicle supplies and increased retail demand helped push the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index to another record in April.

The index, which measures used-vehicle prices, stood at 126.6 last month, up from 124.2 in March and 120.7 in April 2010. The previous record was set in January 2011 at 124.9.

“Wholesale used vehicle prices are also now being supported by the new-vehicle market’s tight inventories, steady demand and higher net transaction prices,” Manhiem said in its monthly commentary

Chevy recalls 2011 Cruze

5/4/2011  News Source: Reuters
General Motors Co is recalling more than 154,000 of its top-selling Chevrolet Cruze cars to check that the steering shaft was properly installed.

Of those vehicles, more than 120,000 cars with an automatic transmission will also be inspected to ensure the transmission shift linkage was properly installed.
See the Chevrolet Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Hyundai Recalls SUVs

5/3/2011  News Source: Wall Street Journal   by: Jonathan Welsh
Hyundai Motor Co. is recalling certain Santa Fe SUVs to fix a potential problem with intermediate drive shafts that could damage their transmissions.

The Korean car maker says the recall affects 2-wheel-drive Santa Fe vehicles from the 2010 model year equipped with 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines and automatic transmissions.
Read full story from Wall Street Journal

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

Honda expands U.S. airbag recall

5/3/2011  News Source: Bloomberg
LOS ANGELES () - Honda Motor Co. said it will again expand a U.S. recall of Honda and Acura brand models to fix flawed airbag components.

The company will inspect model year 2001 to 2003 vehicles that may have had the original driver's airbag module replaced with a flawed service part, Honda said today in an e-mailed statement.

As a result, the recall now includes an additional 833,000 vehicles, the carmaker said. Honda "determined that a number of affected service part air bags were installed in these vehicles in the process of a collision repair or other vehicle service," according to the statement.
See the Honda Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

GM poised to reclaim the global auto sales lead

5/3/2011  News Source: Bloomberg
LOS ANGELES - General Motors Co., less than two years after declaring bankruptcy, is poised to reclaim the global auto sales lead from a Toyota Motor Corp. rattled by both natural disasters and reports of slipping quality.

Improved products and China's booming auto market are boosting GM. The automaker plans to invest at least $5 billion in China to double sales to 5 million vehicles by 2015. After years of losing ground in the U.S. to cars like Toyota's Camry, GM's Malibu has won better reviews and a new version is coming.

Judge to Allow Toyota Lawsuits

5/2/2011  News Source:
A federal judge has again rejected attempts by Toyota to dismiss lawsuits brought by car owners, who claim that their vehicles lost value due to the potential risk of sudden unintended acceleration (SUA), which led to the recall of several million vehicles in recent years.

On Friday, Judge James Selna filed a tentative ruling allowing a Toyota class action lawsuit over the acceleration problems to move forward. Judge Selna acknowledged that the lawsuits, which have not yet been awarded class status, have enough merit to proceed. Selna said that there was enough evidence that plaintiffs could argue that the vehicles were defective.
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Federal investigators look into complaints of faulty gas gauges in 865,000 GM vehicles

4/29/2011  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: AAron M. Kessler
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into whether nearly 1 million General Motors vehicles may have faulty gas gauges.

"Consumers have reported incidents of inaccurate and random fuel level reading while driving, resulting in the vehicle running out of fuel and causing vehicle stall with no restart," NHTSA investigators said in their formal document opening the probe.

Five ways of dealing with your auto recall

4/28/2011  News Source: Associated Press   by: Tom Krisher
Most cars and trucks get recalled at some point in their lives. So don't be surprised if a letter arrives telling you to bring in your vehicle for repairs. Recalls address safety problems, even if they are minor.

Last year, for example, automakers called back more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S. That's the most since 2004.

Nissan and Infiniti Recall Issued Due to Corrosion Risk

4/28/2011  News Source:
About 196,000 Infiniti QX4 and Nissan Pathfinder vehicles are being recalled by due to potential steering problems that may result from corrosion in certain cold-weather states.

The Nissan Pathfinder and Infiniti QX4 recall (pdf) is being issued for vehicles in so called “salt belt” states, which are northern states that use a lot of road salt to clear snow and ice from the roads. It affects Infiniti QX4 vehicles from model years 1997 through 2003 and Pathfinder vehicles from model years 1996 through 2004.
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Ford Q1 profit may climb to $2.1 billion

4/25/2011  News Source: Auto News
Ford Motor Co. may report its largest first-quarter profit since 1998 tomorrow as fuel-efficient new models helped sales gain amid surging U.S. gasoline prices.

Profit excluding some items may have climbed to 50 cents a share, according to the average of 14 analysts' estimates, from 46 cents a year earlier. Net income may have risen to $2.1 billion, the average of three analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg, and the most since a $17.6 billion profit in the first quarter of 1998
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Chrysler to repay U.S early for loans

4/24/2011  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Greg Gardner
On Thursday, Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that Chrysler intends to repay about $7.5 billion in loans to the U.S. and Canadian governments by June -- nearly six years ahead of schedule -- and then Fiat will pay $1.27 billion for an additional 16% stake in Chrysler, bringing its share to 46%.

It's all part of Marchionne's race to raise Fiat's stake in Chrysler to 51% as soon as possible.

That's the majority share number he wants to hit before conducting an initial public offering of Chrysler later this year or early in 2012.
See the Chrysler Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Toyota recalls SUVs because of airbag problem

4/22/2011  News Source: Reuters   by: Kevin Krolicki and Bernie Woodall
New York - Japan's Toyota car company is recalling 308,000 SUVs in the United States due to problems with the airbags, the company said Thursday.

The recall for repairs, which affects the RAV4 and Highlander from model years 2007-2008, was voluntary, Toyota said on its website.

The problems were with malfunctioning sensors on the airbags which could mistakenly activate both the seat belt tension device and the side, or 'curtain', airbag. This could happen after the airbag system goes through its routine checks at start up, Toyota said.
Read full story from Reuters

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

Typical driver spends almost 60 cents a mile on car expenses

4/20/2011  News Source: Los Angeles Times   by: Jerry Hirsch
Drivers pay an average of 58.5 cents a mile to drive a sedan, according to an annual vehicle operating cost study by the American Automobile Assn.

That’s up 1.9 cents from a year ago and amounts to $8,776 a year, based on 15,000 miles of annual driving.

The cost for driving a typical passenger car ranges from 45.1 cents a mile for a small car to 57.3 cents for a mid-size sedan to 73.2 cents for a large sedan.

The most expensive vehicle to drive is a four-wheel-drive SUV, at 74.9 cents a mile or $11,239 a year. A minivan sets the driver back 63.3 cents a mile, or $9,489 for the year.
Read full story from Los Angeles Times

Toyota making drastic production cuts

4/19/2011  News Source: CNN   by: CNN Wire Staff
Toyota Motor Corporation on Tuesday announced dramatic production cuts in North America because of difficulty in supplying parts following the massive 9.0 magnitude March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan.

Previously, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), had said it would suspend production on Mondays and Fridays between April 15 and April 25. That will continue through June 3, the company said in a statement.
Read full story from CNN

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

GM to raise car prices

4/18/2011  News Source: Associated Press
General Motors says it will raise prices by an average of $123 per vehicle to make up for higher oil and metal costs. The company says the increase will go into effect in the U.S. starting May 2.

Quake, gas prices forcing car buyers to pay more

4/15/2011  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Greg Gardner
Shortages driven by last month's earthquake and tsunami in Japan and soaring gas prices already are pushing prices for small cars higher -- forcing many consumers to consider second or third choices and buy quickly before prices climb again.

The average small car sold for $20,327 in March - $816, or 4.2%, higher than a year earlier - as demand outstripped supply of some models, according to For subcompacts, the increase was 6.3%, or $1,118.

Camera Scans of Car Plates Are Reshaping Police Inquiries

4/14/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Al Baker
With the police closing in, Luis Zeledon ducked into a closet, recognizing that his hideout in Queens had somehow been exposed. But for all Mr. Zeledon's evasiveness, the key to his arrest on murder charges in 2009 came days before the killing even occurred - as he was driving his car.

The Police Department's growing web of license-plate-reading cameras has been transforming investigative work. Though the imaging technology was conceived primarily as a counterterrorism tool, the cameras' presence has aided in all sorts of traditional criminal investigations.
Read full story from New York Times

Ford expands recall of F-150 pickups after air bag deployments

4/14/2011  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Greg Gardner
Ford is expanding a recall of F-150 and Lincoln Mark LT pickup trucks because federal regulators have warned that unwanted driver's side air bag deployments have resulted in 66 reported injuries such as cuts, broken teeth and two people told regulators they were knocked unconscious.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 269 total reports of such unintended air bag deployments.
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Ford recalls 1.2M F-150 pickups

4/14/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: David Shepardson
Detroit-Under government pressure, Ford Motor Co. has agreed to recall 1.2 million more F-150 pickup trucks after more than 200 reports of sudden, unexpected air bag deployments. The new recall covers 16,000 2006 Lincoln Mark LT pickups. Ford is also recalling 89,000 pickups in Canada and 47,000 in Mexico.
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Help Wanted: Auto Industry in Desperate Need of Engineers

4/13/2011  News Source: Motor Trend   by: Alex Nishimoto
The demand for qualified individuals in the auto industry is starting to really pick up. We already talked about how the Detroit three are aggressively hiring tech graduates, but the job market for engineers is also improving, according to the Detroit News.

Just take a look at the industry’s growth for last year, when companies added 32,000 jobs including thousands for engineers. This upward trend suggests that the auto sector is on its way to recovery—and that automakers need more engineers to build tomorrow’s cars.
Read full story from Motor Trend

Detroit Three could add as many as 35,000 new jobs

4/13/2011  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Bren Snavely
The Detroit Three could add as many as 35,000 new jobs by 2015, with virtually all of them landing in Michigan as the Detroit Three continue to consolidate their operations, Sean McAlinden, senior economist for the Center for Automotive Research, said Tuesday.

After slashing more than 230,000 U.S. jobs between 2000 and 2009 as they repeatedly restructured, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are now well positioned to add jobs as the economy recovers.
Read full story from Detroit Free Press

NHTSA investigating Kia, Subaru vehicles for defects

4/11/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: David Shepardson
Detroit-Federal regulators have opened two new auto safety investigations into Subaru Impreza and Kia Sorento vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it opened an investigation into 50,000 2011 Kia Sorento SUVs. NHTSA said it has received four complaints alleging a loss of power because of a sudden failure of a transmission intermediate driveshaft. Another five complaints allege a loss of power because of transmission failure that could be related to a driveshaft failure.
See the Kia Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Restart problems reported in Nissan Leaf electric cars

4/11/2011  News Source: Reuters
TOKYO (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co. has received complaints from owners that its Leaf electric car on occasion fails to start, posing a potential setback for the automaker's goal of promoting zero-emission vehicles.

Nissan said today it was looking into the exact cause, which it traced back to the Leaf's air-conditioning unit. Nissan is investigating whether the glitch was in a certain component or the programming, spokesman Toshitake Inoshita said.
See the Nissan Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Toyota to halt North America output for 5 days because of parts shortages

4/8/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Ryan Beene
Toyota Motor Corp. will suspend production at North American assembly plants for five days this month due to earthquake-related parts shortages.

All but one of Toyota's assembly plants are scheduled to be idled on April 15, 18, 21, 22 and 25, the automaker said in a statement today. Its plant in Georgetown, Ky., will assemble vehicles on April 21 and be down the four other days.
See the Toyota Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

NHTSA investigating Dodge Ram Trucks for Steering Problems

4/8/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: David Shepardson
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary investigation into steering issues on 160,000 Dodge Ram pickup trucks. NHTSA says in a notice posted today on its website that its investigation covers an estimated 160,000 2008-2011 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 trucks over "outer tie rod failures (that) may result in loss of steering." NHTSA has received 12 complaints about steering problems on the trucks.
See the Dodge Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

GM Recalls 2,500 Cruzes for Steering Wheel Fix

4/8/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: David Shepardson
Detroit-General Motors Co. said today it is recalling 2,100 2011 Chevrolet Cruze sedans in the United States and 400 in Canada after one vehicle (in the U.S.) had an improperly fastened steering wheel. There was no crash or injuries associated with the vehicle. "We have analyzed the vehicle that experienced this condition and made adjustments to the assembly process for installation of the steering wheel," said Jeff Boyer, GM executive director of safety. "Unfortunately, an error was made. We are confident this is the only vehicle with this condition."
See the General Motors Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Webasto Sunroof Recall

4/7/2011  News Source: NHTSA
Read full story from NHTSA

Ford negotiating F-150 recall expansion over airbags

4/6/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: David Shepardson
Washington-Ford Motor Co. and federal regulators remain in talks over whether the automaker should expand a recall of F-150 pickup trucks over dozens of reports that airbags have deployed without warning. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief David Strickland told reporters today, following an event on distracted driving, that talks are continuing after more than a month of discussions - and the agency has been pushing for more vehicles to be called back .
See the Ford Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Mercedes-Benz Recalls Almost 137,000 M-Class S.U.V.'s

4/5/2011  News Source: NY Times   by: Christopher Jensen
Mercedes-Benz is recalling almost 137,000 of its M-Class sport utility vehicles because tapping the brake may not disengage the cruise control. Mercedes says the recall covers the 2000-02 M-Class and the 2000-04 M-Class AMG, a high-performance model, according to a document published Tuesday on the Web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The automaker told N.H.T.S.A. that it had found a problem with the brake-lamp switch; applying the brakes doesn’t send the electronic signal needed to disengage the cruise control.
Read full story from NY Times

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

Mercedes expects record 2011 sales after Q1 jump

4/5/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Reuters and Bloomberg
FRANKFURT - Daimler AG said it wants to achieve a new sales milestone for Mercedes-Benz cars in 2011 after record sales in China helped drive the German luxury brand to double-digit growth in the first quarter.
See the Mercedes-Benz Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Demand for cars lifts prices

4/2/2011  News Source: Los Angeles Times   by: Jerry Hirsch
Consumers bought more new cars in March, giving the auto industry a big boost, but the surge in demand and shrinking supplies are fueling worries of higher vehicle prices.

Automakers sold more than 1.2 million vehicles in the U.S. last month, up 16.9% from the same period a year earlier, Autodata Corp. said Friday.

Small cars and hybrids were among the hottest sellers. Sales of Toyota Motor Corp.'s Prius hybrid rose 58% and the company has barely a two-week supply of the cars. Production delays caused by the March 11 earthquake in Japan are expected to shrink the inventory even more.
Read full story from Los Angeles Times

Chrysler's March sales climb 31%

4/1/2011  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Greg Gardner
Chrysler's U.S. sales jumped 31% in March from a year earlier, spurred by solid performance by its two updated midsize sedans, Chrysler 200 an Dodge Avenger, as well as Jeep's two smallest models, Compass and Patriot, both of which more than doubled their sales from March 2010.

"Our pickups and sport-utilities have been strong performers in the market, and now we are seeing our cars gaining momentum," said Fred Diaz, Chrysler's lead executive for U.S. sales.
See the Dodge Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Happy Motoring: Traffic Deaths at 61-Year Low

4/1/2011  News Source: NY Times   by: Michael Copper
An estimated 32,788 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That represents a 25 percent decline since 2005, when there were 43,510 traffic fatalities, and the fewest deaths since 1949 -when "On The Town" won the Academy Award for best score for a musical, a new magazine called Motor Trend named the Cadillac as its first car of the year, and when there were far fewer drivers on America's pre-Interstate roads.
Read full story from NY Times

VW recalls 71,043 2011 Jettas in U.S.

3/28/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Lauren Abdel-Razzaq
Volkswagen of America Inc. today voluntarily recalled 71,043 2011 Jettas because of wiring problems with the anti-theft alarm system and horn.

"The current electrical wiring layout has the horn wiring protected by the same fuse as the converter box wiring," said VW spokeswoman Sheriece Matias. "So if there was an electrical short in the horn it could cause the converter box to be disconnected from the power supply."
See the Volkswagen Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

Japan automakers brace for looming electricity shortfalls

3/28/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Hans Greimel
TOKYO -- Japanese carmakers, even if they have the parts to resume production, may soon face a new challenge of not having enough electricity to operate their factories.

With several electric power plants knocked out by Japan's devastating March 11 earthquake, there is a growing gap between the amount of power produced and the amount Japan's industrial base needs.

Honda issues second recall for 2011 Odyssey

3/26/2011  News Source: Detroit News Washington Bureau   by: David Shepardson
Washington - Honda Motor Co. is issuing its second recall in the last week for the 2011 Odyssey minivan over reports faulty front side windows have shattered.

Honda said today it was recalling 2,800 2011 Odyssey minivans "to replace the side window glass in one or both of the front doors. Honda is taking this step because there is a potential for one or both windows to become detached from the window regulator, causing the window to become inoperative and preventing it from being rolled up or down."

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

Ford expected to retake top spot in U.S. auto sales in March

3/24/2011  News Source: Los Angeles Times
Ford Motor Co. is poised to be the top U.S. auto seller in March, surpassing General Motors Co. for only the second time since 1998, according to projections by auto information company

Ford, which has steadily gained market share in recent years, knocking Toyota Motor Corp. from the second spot, last led the nation in sales back in February 2010.

Last year Ford surged to the top briefly as consumers deserted Toyota because of its millions of recalls and brief sales suspension and GM was still struggling as it emerged from its 2009 bankruptcy reorganization.
Read full story from Los Angeles Times

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

GM stock hits new low

3/23/2011  News Source: Detroit Free Press   by: Christie Thompson
General Motors' common stock hit a new trading low today before closing higher than it did Tuesday.

GM's stock slipped to $30.20 this morning before recovering to close at $31.16, beating the Dow Jones Industrial Average's half-percent gain by closing up 1.4%.

The shares had finished trading Tuesday at $30.74 for their lowest close since GM returned to the stock market in November at $33 per share, down from an intraday high of $39.48 in January.

For taxpayers to break even when the government sells the rest of its stake in GM, the stock price needs to rise to about $53.

Earthquake stalls output of many best-selling cars from Japan

3/22/2011  News Source: Automotive News
Factory shutdowns in Japan have hammered the country's best-selling export models to the United States, with 17 of the top 20 nameplates still offline more than a week after the earthquake.

Hardest hit is Toyota Motor Corp., which originally suspended vehicle assembly through today. Earlier today, the world's biggest automaker extended the shutdown of its 18 domestic assembly plants, including those of subsidiaries, through Saturday.

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

Hyundai recalls Elantras over air bag sensors

3/18/2011  News Source: Associated Press
Hyundai is recalling Elantra sedans to fix faulty air bag sensors that could cause the front air bag to malfunction. Hyundai says it will issue separate recalls to fix the problem.

The first covers more than 188,000 Elantras from the 2007 to 2009 model years.Dealers will fix an electrical connector for a sensor that's designed to deactivate the right front air bag under certain circumstances.

The second recall covers nearly 100,000 Elantras from the 2007-2008 model years, vehicles that are also covered by the first recall. It will fix a sensor on the seat track of the driver's side that helps determine whether the air bag should deploy.

The recalls are expected to begin in April. Owners can call (800) 633-5151 for more information.

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

Lincoln Earns 'Most Dependable' Title

3/18/2011  News Source: Motoring   by: Cheryl Jensen
LINCOLN was the top brand in the J. D. Power & Associates 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study, the first time it has taken the No. 1 spot in the two decades the study has been conducted.

Lincoln knocked off Porsche to take the top spot - a reversal of the 2010 results - among the 34 brands included, according to the results announced Thursday. When it came to individual models, the Lincoln MKZ sedan ranked second only to the Porsche 911.
Read full story from Motoring

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

Honda recalls, halts sale of some Civic models for potential fire risk

3/17/2011  News Source: Reuters
DETROIT - Honda Motor Co is recalling about 21,700 of its current-model compact Honda Civic cars due to the possibility that fuel will leak in a roll-over crash, the company and U.S. regulators said on Thursday.

"If a vehicle is involved in a roll-over crash, a cracked roll-over valve may allow fuel leakage from the gasoline tank into the evaporative emissions canister," Honda said in a statement. "No crashes or injuries have been reported related to this defect."

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

Prices of vehicles from Japan likely to climb

3/17/2011  News Source: Los Angeles Times   by: Jerry Hirsch
New-car shoppers could see prices for some of the more popular hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and the Honda Fit rise in the coming weeks.

The cost of the imports is likely to go up because earthquake-related production shutdowns in Japan are reducing supply of the autos when consumers are increasingly shopping for gas-sipping models.
Read full story from Los Angeles Times

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

Toyota says quake-hit plants escape major structural damage

3/15/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Hans Greimel
TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. has released the first damage report for its northern Japanese factories in the region hammered by Friday's massive earthquake, saying some equipment and fixtures will need repairs but that the plants sustained no major structural harm.

For days after the quake, Toyota had trouble contacting it plants in the northern Japan quake zone, making it difficult to assess their status. Two Toyota body-making subsidiaries have assembly plants in the region, while the parent company operates two parts factories there.

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

Tsunami wipes out 2,300 Nissan vehicles awaiting shipment

3/12/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Hans Greimel
TOKYO-The earthquake triggered tsunami that ravaged Japan's Pacific coast has damaged at least 2,300 Nissan and Infiniti brand vehicles awaiting shipment to U.S. and Japan showrooms. 

The cars including nearly 1,300 Infiniti M, EX and FX models bound for North America were parked at two coastal loading points when the giant waves swept through.

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

Kia recalls 70,000 Optimas for transmission glitch

3/11/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: Ryan Beene
LOS ANGELES-Kia is recalling about 70,000 Optima sedans from model years 2006 through 2008 because the car's automatic transmission may remain in gear after being shifted to park, creating the risk of a roll-away crash.

In a filing with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Kia said a cable connected to the Optima's shifter assembly may not have been installed correctly and could become detached.

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

Japan quake's effect on automakers unlikely to be felt soon in U.S.

3/11/2011  News Source: Los Angeles Times   by: Jerry Hirsch
Much of what the top three brands - Toyota, Honda and Nissan - sell in the United States is already made in North America. The question will be whether there are high-profit cars - such as Toyota's Lexus line or Honda's Acura brand, which are still made in Japan - that can't be shipped here.

A large batch of vehicles is already in transit, so inventories should not be a problem in the short term, said Michael Robinet, an analyst with IHS Automotive.

"A bigger issue would be if a factory was damaged so significantly that the automaker had to move production elsewhere while it rebuilt, especially for a key component such as an engine or transmission that is in short supply or is needed for production in the United States," he said.

Read full story from Los Angeles Times

VW and Chrysler to recall minivans for stalling problem

3/10/2011  News Source: Associated Press
Detroit-Volkswagen is recalling 12,600 minivans because the ignition key could move while driving and cause the engine to shut off.

Chrysler announced a similar recall last week. It makes the vans for Volkswagen.

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

Dorel Recalling Nearly 800,000 Child Safety Seats For Safety Harness Issue

3/9/2011  News Source: NHTSA   by: Karen Aldana
Sticking Release Button May Allow Safety Harness Straps to Loosen

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today announced that Dorel Juvenile Group (DJG) is recalling 794,247 child safety seats because the harness locking and release button does not always return to its locked position. A button that is not in the locked position can allow the harness adjustment strap to slip back through the adjuster as a child moves around in the seat and results in a loose harness, increasing the risk of being injured a crash

DJG said the problem involves certain restraint systems manufactured from May 1, 2008, through April 30, 2009, which have a “Center Front Adjuster” (CFA) for the harness. These include infant, convertible, and booster child restraint systems which were sold both as stand-alone seats or part of a travel system (with a stroller).

Read full story from NHTSA

Mazda to recall 65,000 cars

3/3/2011  News Source: Associated Press   by: Ken Thomas
WASHINGTON - Mazda has some creepy crawly culprits in its new safety recall - spiders.
After discovering spider webs in the vents, the Japanese automaker is recalling more than 50,000 Mazda6 cars from the 2009-2010 model years in the United States.

The company said Thursday a spider could weave a web in a vent connected to the fuel tank system and clog up the tank's ventilation. Pressure on the fuel tank could lead to a crack, causing fuel leakage and the risk of a fire.

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

Judge will OK old-GM liquidation, approves $773M cleanup plan

3/3/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: David Shepardson
New York- A federal bankruptcy judge said this afternoon he will approve a plan to liquidate the remnants of 102-year-old General Motors Corp.-a milestone in the restructuring of the U.S. auto industry.

"This plan will be confirmed," said Judge Robert E. Gerber after a day long hearing-just under 21 months after the company sought bankruptcy protection.

He said he will issue a written opinion in the next few days and may make some small tweaks.

The approval will clear the away for the distribution of stock to some creditors early next month and the cancellation of old GM's 610 million shares of stock.

Ford issues two new recalls for more than 30,000 vehicles

3/2/2011  News Source: Detroit News   by: David Shepardson
Washington- Ford Motor Co. is issuing two new recalls for more than 30,000 vehicles over potential electrical issues and fuel leaks.
One recall is to reinspect some vehicles that were recalled in late December because of faulty software.

The Dearborn automaker told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it is calling back 23,688 2010 Ford Ranger trucks with 2.3L engines to inspect a fuel line for chafing.

Ford said on the vehicles that the engine fuel line may contact another part and may chafe, resulting in a fuel odor and potentially a fuel leak.

Ford is also conducting a second recall of some 2011 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, Edge and Lincoln MKX vehicles that had been inspected under a recall announced in late December by Ford.

Ford said in December it was calling back 14,737 vehicles to inspect the body control module because the vehicles could have an electrical short that could lead to a fire.

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

GM offers 0% financing to keep sales momentum going

3/2/2011  News Source: BLOOMBERG
DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. is offering buyers interest-free financing on some 2011 models after the company increased discounts and incentives to lead all major automakers' U.S. sales gains last month.

The loans became available Tuesday for 72 months on the Chevrolet Impala sedan, as well as for 60 months on the Malibu sedan, HHR wagon, Traverse crossover and Silverado, Colorado and Avalanche pickups, according to AIS Rebates in Ann Arbor, Mich. The 60-month deal also applies to the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia SUVs and Sierra pickups.

Auto Executives Brace for Oil Price Increases

2/28/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Jack Ewing
The chief executives of BMW warned Monday that the auto industry would have to prepare itself for permanently higher fuel prices and said they would work together to develop new hybrid propulsion systems.

Pressure to find ways to save fuel, and to shift to vehicles that draw at least some of their power from the electric grid, is prompting companies to cooperate on the huge investment in research and development that will be required.

Read full story from New York Times

Toyota to Recall Over 2 Million Vehicles for Gas Pedal

2/24/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Nick Bunkley
Toyota said on Thursday that it was recalling another 2.17 million vehicles to fix problems that could cause their accelerator pedals to become stuck, a setback in its efforts to rebound from the uncertainty that swirled around the carmaker last year.

Toyota initiated two new recalls on Thursday, covering about 769,000 sport utility vehicles and 20,000 Lexus sedans, and added nearly 1.4 million vehicles to its November 2009 recall related to what Toyota called "floor mat entrapment."

Read full story from New York Times

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

Resurgent G.M. Posts 2010 Profit of $4.7 Billion

2/24/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Nick Bunkley
DETROIT- General Motors, which nearly collapsed from the weight of its debts two years ago before reorganizing in a government-sponsored bankruptcy, said on Thursday that it earned $4.7 billion in 2010, the most in more than a decade.

It was the first profitable year since 2004 for G.M., which became publicly traded in November, ending a string of years in which losses totaled about $90 billion.

The improvement was a result of eliminating debt during and after bankruptcy, and years of effort at reducing factory output, cutting labor costs and developing more enticing cars and trucks.

Read full story from New York Times

Supreme Court OKs lawsuits over cars' lack of best safety equipment

2/24/2011  News Source: Los Angeles Times   by: David G. Savage from Washington
The Supreme Court reversed course and ruled that the nation's automakers can be sued for failing to install the most-effective safety equipment in their vehicles.

The unanimous decision Wednesday clears the way for a California man to sue Mazda Motor Corp. because his family's 1993 minivan did not have a lap and shoulder belt in a middle rear seat.

Read full story from Los Angeles Times

Unintended Air-Bag Deployments Lead to Recall of 144,000 Ford F-150s

2/23/2011  News Source: New York Times   by: Christopher Jensen
Ford is recalling about 144,000 F-150 pickups from the 2005-6 model years because the driver’s side air bag might deploy without the vehicle being in a crash, a Ford spokesman said Wednesday. The number represents a small fraction of the total F-150s that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was initially concerned about.

A defect investigation by the safety agency, which began late in 2009, grew eventually to cover about 1.3 million F-150s from the 2004-6 model years.

Read full story from New York Times

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

Federal government sued over closing of car dealerships

2/18/2011  News Source: Las Vegas Sun   by: Steve Green
A group of car dealers, including two in Las Vegas, who lost their businesses in Chrysler's 2009 bankruptcy sued the federal government in Washington, D.C., on Thursday in hopes of recovering at least $130 million in damages.

The dealers say they lost their businesses without adequate compensation from the federal government and that the government is responsible because under its Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), it required Chrysler to slash the size of its dealership network.

Read full story from Las Vegas Sun

Chevrolet Announces MyLink Entertainment System

2/18/2011  News Source: Chicago Tribune   by: Colin Bird -
Ford may have started the whole multimedia interface fad with Sync and MyFord Touch, but now that there's competition from Kia, the Chrysler brands and now Toyota, automakers not offering these systems are starting to stick out.

The latest player to fall in line was Chevrolet, which introduced its Sync competitor, called MyLink. Like Toyota's Entune system and MyFord Touch, MyLink - we're sure the names won't be confusing to anyone -uses your smartphone to stream internet radio and offer a simple voice-activated interface to control your music and phone settings all via Bluetooth.

Read full story from Chicago Tribune

Motoring mash-ups: 5 offbeat cars coming soon

2/16/2011  News Source: Forbes   by: Matthew de Paula
Strange experiments are happening in the auto industry.Companies are cross-pollinating different types of vehicles to create new breeds, and the results are sometimes perplexing. For example, Nissan has turned its pudgy Murano into a convertible. Meanwhile, Range Rover is trying to show some concern for the environment by offering its smallest, most car-like SUV ever, the Evoque.
Read full story from Forbes

GM recalling Cadillac CTS over vehicle handling

2/16/2011  News Source: Associated Press
WASHINGTON - General Motors says it is recalling more than 50,000 Cadillac CTS vehicles worldwide to fix a loose joint that could cause a rear wheel to become unstable, making it hard for drivers to steer.

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

GM to roll out rival to Ford's Sync Infotainment System

2/15/2011  News Source: Automotive News   by: David Sedgwick
GM will introduce a competitor to Ford's Sync infotainment system that will provide text messaging, e-mails, traffic advisories and other connected-car functions.

The system, called Chevrolet MyLink, will let motorists link their smart phone and its functions -- such as texting, calls, music or navigation -- to the vehicle's voice recognition software, sound system and navigation screen.

It will be launched in the Chevrolet Volt and Equinox this fall.

Honda recalls 10,800 Accords, Pilots

12/22/2010  News Source: USA TODAY   by: Chris Woodyard
Honda is recalling many 2010 and 2011 Accords and 2011 Pilot crossovers in the U.S. to make repairs that will head off a potential front suspension failure.

About 10,800 vehicles are involved. The problem focuses on the machinery used to tighten nuts on the front axles of both vehicles. And on the Pilot alone, there's an issue with the damper attachment bracket bolts,which may cause the front suspension of a small number of these vehicles to fail. A flaw in the software for the equipment used for this assembly process was identified at Honda's Alabama assembly plant.

Read full story from USA TODAY

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

Chrysler and VW Recall Nearly 750,000 Vehicles

12/15/2010  News Source: NY Times   by: Christopher Jensen
Volkswagen and Chrysler are recalling almost 750,000 vehicles in two separate recalls, according to documents filed recently with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Chrysler says its recall covers about 367,000 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans. The automaker said a water leak could cause the passenger side air bag to deploy without the vehicle being in a crash.
See the Dodge Auto Recall Scoreboard: by Model or by Year

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