Followup: NHTSA upgrades Corvette headlight investigation

Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Performance, Recalls, Safety, Chevrolet

Chevrolet Corvette front three-quarter

It’s looking more and more likely that we’ll be seeing a recall of certain sixth-generation Corvettes, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded its initial investigation to an engineering analysis, the final stage before the Feds can request a full-on recall. The problems, which we first reported on back in May, had to do with headlights that would randomly cut out for some 2005 to 2007 Chevrolet Corvette models. NHTSA has received 95 complaints from owners of random headlight failures, while The Detroit News states that there have also been four reports from owners of 2008 Vettes.

The issue, which affects 103,374 cars, is believed to be caused by a fuse block in the engine bay. Located in a high-heat area, it can short out when exposed to increased temperatures, leading to the headlight failure. It’s not entirely clear if the issues extend to the Corvette’s Z06 and ZR1 variants.

General Motors is cooperating with NHTSA throughout the investigation, a spokesperson told The News.

NHTSA upgrades Corvette headlight investigation originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 27 Aug 2013 14:34:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 Subaru Forester scores 5 stars in NHTSA crash test [w/video]

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Videos, Crossover, Subaru

2014 Subaru Forester XT

Having aced the crash test from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and earning the highest rating of Top Safety Pick+, the 2014 Subaru Forester headed over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a date with destruction. In the barrage of NHTSA tests, the new Forester met similar results as it did with the IIHS, earning a five-star overall crash rating.

Comparing these number to the previous model, which carried a four-star rating in all areas, the new Forester did much better in the side-impact test to earn a full five stars; frontal and rollover ratings were still at four stars like the old model, but the improved side crashworthiness was enough to gain the NHTSA’s highest overall rating. The frontal impact video is posted below, but all the various test videos can be seen on NHTSA’s website.

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2014 Subaru Forester scores 5 stars in NHTSA crash test [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 23 Aug 2013 11:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Followup: NHTSA rebuffs ‘best ever’ crash test claim by Tesla [w/video]

Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety, Videos, Tesla, Electric, Luxury

Tesla Model S after crash frontal crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administraion

In response to Tesla’s claim that the Model S is the safest car ever tested, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a statement clearing up how it rates cars. While not denying that the Model S is a very safe car, the agency said that its rating system is only between one and five stars – nothing higher and nothing lower.

This means that, unlike honors classes in college and high school, there is no way to score above the highest rating, and Tesla says that it received a 5.4-star rating (although there is no indication where it got this information). Also, NHTSA made no mention of any broken equipment it suffered while testing the Model S; another claim made by Tesla. Scroll down for the Model S crash video courtesy of ABC News as well as NHTSA’s brief statement.

Continue reading NHTSA rebuffs ‘best ever’ crash test claim by Tesla [w/video]

NHTSA rebuffs ‘best ever’ crash test claim by Tesla [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 22 Aug 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tesla Model S scores five stars in NHTSA crash tests [w/video]

Filed under: EV/Plug-in, Tesla Motors, Videos

Tesla Model S NHTSA crash

Tesla Motors is having a good week. Right after the California-based maker of the Model S electric vehicle reported better than expected earnings and vehicle-production numbers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) let it be known that the Model S received five-star crash-test ratings, according to Automotive News. That means the sedan received the best possible marks for frontal and side-impact crashes, as well as for rollover. The bad news: some Teslas were destroyed in the process. It’s part of a trend. Earlier versions of the Model S also received top crash test scores last year. Before that, the all-electric Roadster also passed crash tests back in 2008.

A refresher on the other good news of the week: Tesla announced Wednesday that it increased sales to 5,150 vehicles for the second quarter, and said it may double production next year. After reporting its first profit in the first quarter, Tesla’s second-quarter gross margin was 22 percent and may reach 25 percent by year-end. Tesla’s second-quarter revenue was $405.1 million and the company narrowed its second-quarter loss to $30.2 million from a $105.5 million loss a year earlier.

You can check out several Model S crash-test videos below, though you might want to cover your eyes.

Continue reading Tesla Model S scores five stars in NHTSA crash tests [w/video]

Tesla Model S scores five stars in NHTSA crash tests [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 09 Aug 2013 10:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: NHTSA gives okay for three automakers to skirt tire-related recalls

Filed under: Government/Legal, Recalls, Safety, Acura, BMW, Mercedes-Benz

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class front three-quarter action

BMW, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz are all going to avoid small recalls, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued petitions for “findings of inconsequential noncompliance” to the three manufacturers, according to Tire Business. Basically, the petitions allow the brands to avoid recalls for some very, very minor issues.

BMW had tire placards on 364 X6 M CUVs that stated the car could only handle four passengers, when in reality it had room for three in the back. Actual plausibility of fitting three real humans in the slope-roofed Bimmer aside, the Munich-based manufacturer argued it was inconsequential, as the placards were correct regardless of the number of passengers.

Honda’s case focused on 212 2011 and 2012 Acura TSX sedans equipped with 18-inch wheels. The TPMS systems on these cars were set for 17-inch wheels, rather than the larger hoops, but even with the lower settings, the tires maintain adequate load capacity.

Finally, Mercedes-Benz was the luckiest to get off, as it faced recalling 1,479 C-Class sedans built from March 2011 to August of the same year. While this affected the most cars, it’s far and away the least consequential for the German brand – the tire placards identify the spare tire size incorrectly. As the inflation levels were correct, there was no point in issuing a recall.

NHTSA gives okay for three automakers to skirt tire-related recalls originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 10:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: 2014 Chevy Impala nets five-star crash rating from NHTSA [w/video]

Filed under: Sedan, Safety, Technology, Videos, Chevrolet

The 2014 Chevrolet Impala is officially a safe car, earning a five-star safety score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s New Car Assessment Program.

GM General Director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness, Gay Kent, says that the 2014 Impala was “designed to provide excellent crash safety,” and there’s a long list of safety features to back up that statement, some of which are firsts for Chevrolet. Only a few years ago luxury brands, such as Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, were pioneers of radar-based safety technologies. Now the technology has trickled down to more affordable cars, such as the 2014 Impala, which also features traffic-sensing radar (a first for a Chevrolet), adaptive cruise control that adjusts vehicle speed and can stop it in gridlock traffic, crash-imminent braking, collision alerts and lane departure warning. The car also has a rear-mounted video camera paired with an ultrasonic system to help with parking, 10 airbags and the list goes on.

Of course, driver aides such as traction control, stability control and anti-lock brakes come standard on the Impala, too, as does OnStar, GM’s GPS-based service that will send an emergency call for help if it senses the vehicle was in a crash.

Scroll down to read the press release about the full range of safety features that earned it a five-star crash rating, and be sure to check out the video of the crash test below.

Continue reading 2014 Chevy Impala nets five-star crash rating from NHTSA [w/video]

2014 Chevy Impala nets five-star crash rating from NHTSA [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 19 Jul 2013 19:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Opinion: Is NHTSA out of control?

Filed under: Government/Legal, Recalls, Safety

Recent Rises in Recall Numbers A Cause For Alarm

Preliminary indications suggest there may be an all-time recall record in 2013.

The announcements seem to be coming almost every day, if not more frequently: a million-plus Jeeps, a quarter-million Hondas, another million Toyotas. Last year saw a sharp reversal of the long, downward trend in automotive recalls and while it’s still too early to say where things will wind up when 2013 winds down, preliminary indications from the first half of the year suggest there’ll be another increase, if not an all-time record.

Significantly, automakers recalled roughly the same number of vehicles as they sold in 2012, about 14.5 million, notably with Toyota and Honda, two brands traditionally known for their quality and reliability, at the top of the chart. In fact, those two makers have led the list, in terms of individual vehicles recalled, for the last five years. And they were on track to do the same thing again in 2013 – Honda already targeting about 2 million vehicles for problems ranging from airbags to brakes to switch fires – if it weren’t for a series of big safety campaigns announced by Chrysler over the last month.

The most recent of these actually combined five separate recalls and covered about 840,000 vehicles, but it was dwarfed by the recall of 1.6 million Jeeps announced – reluctantly – in June. And that controversial campaign raises some serious questions about what’s behind the recent rise in the number of recalls.


Paul EisensteinPaul A. Eisenstein is Publisher of TheDetroitBureau.com and a 30-year veteran of the automotive beat. His editorials bring his unique perspective and deep understanding of the auto world to Autoblog readers on a regular basis. This story was reprinted with permission from the author and TheDetroitBureau.com.


Continue reading Is NHTSA out of control?

Is NHTSA out of control? originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 17 Jul 2013 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Chrysler resolves recall issue with NHTSA, will inspect, upgrade affected Jeeps

Filed under: SUV, Government/Legal, Recalls, Safety, Jeep

Chrysler made big news earlier in the month by refusing a recall request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty. Last week, NHTSA boss David Strickland countered by defending his agency’s request for the recall of 2.7 million Jeep SUVs. Today marked the deadline for Chrysler to formally respond to NHTSA, and it seems that both parties have met in the middle with Chrysler inspecting and upgrading some of the affected vehicles without using the word “recall,” which would constitute the admission of a defect; instead, Chrysler said that it is conducting a “voluntary campaign.”

At issue on these vehicles is the positioning of the fuel tank behind the rear axle that could get damaged during a rear-end collision. NHTSA has stated that at least 51 people have been killed in rear-end collisions involving these Jeeps after the vehicles caught fire, to which Chrysler countered by pointing out that both models “met and exceeded” the requirements for fuel-system integrity.

As a compromise on the situation, Chrysler says that it will inspect all pre-2004 Grand Cherokees and pre-2007 Liberty models and, “if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle.” According to Automotive News, this upgrade will consist of adding a trailer hitch that will presumably better protect the rear-mounted gas tank. Vehicles already equipped with a factory or Mopar hitch will not be modified. Chrysler’s official statement on the matter is posted below, but no additional information has been released, such as when the campaign will begin and how many vehicles could be affected.

Continue reading Chrysler resolves recall issue with NHTSA, will inspect, upgrade affected Jeeps

Chrysler resolves recall issue with NHTSA, will inspect, upgrade affected Jeeps originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 16:25:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: NHTSA boss Strickland weighs in on Jeep recall fracas

Filed under: SUV, Government/Legal, Recalls, Safety, Jeep

David Strickland

Adding yet another chapter to the ongoing Jeep recall story, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) head David Strickland has gone on record to defend the government’s request that Chrysler recall 2.7 million out-of-production Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty vehicles after the agency investigated fiery rear-end collisions that have reportedly killed at least 51 people over the years. In statements made to The Detroit News, Strickland said, “We felt very strongly that the process that we undertook and the findings that we made and … we made the decision to issue a recall request. We do not take that very lightly.” The top US auto safety regulator stopped short of telling owners to park their cars until the automaker takes action. “They can make their own risk assessment and their own choices,” he said.

Chrysler does not intend to recall the models, insisting the “vehicles met and exceeded all applicable requirements of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, including FMVSS 301, pertaining to fuel-system integrity” when they were manufactured and sold. “The company does not agree with NHTSA’s conclusions and does not intend to recall the vehicles cited in the investigation. The subject vehicles are safe and are not defective,” Chrysler announced last week in a statement. “We believe NHTSA’s initial conclusions are based on an incomplete analysis of the underlying data, and we are committed to continue working with the agency to resolve this disagreement.”

Legally, Chrysler has until June 18 to formally respond to NHTSA’s request. If the automaker does not take action, NHTSA is expected to issue a formal finding and seek a recall.

NHTSA boss Strickland weighs in on Jeep recall fracas originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 15 Jun 2013 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: NHTSA investigating some Nissan Altima, Jeep Wrangler models

Filed under: Sedan, SUV, Recalls, Safety, Jeep, Nissan, Off-Road

2010 Nissan Altima
2010 Nissan Altima – Click above for high-res image gallery

Jeep WranglerThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into two vehicles from the 2007-2008 model years: the Nissan Altima and Jeep Wrangler. The Altima has been the subject of 20 non-injury complaints regarding a loss of stopping power. The culprit is supposed to be a brake fluid leak which, if left unaddressed by drivers when the warning light “is ignored,” decreases braking force. There are 440,000 Altimas included in the investigation. Nissan recalled 180,000 Sentras from the same model years for the same kind of leak.

There are also 220,000 Jeep Wranglers under investigation for non-deployment of drivers’ airbags due to a failed electrical circuit. 29 non-injury complaints were received, and at least six of the Wranglers were found to have been right-hand-drive models.

NHTSA investigating some Nissan Altima, Jeep Wrangler models originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 28 May 2011 12:39:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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