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IIHS ANNOUNCES 3 LARGE CARS RECEIVE ITS TOP CRASH RATING

Posted on Thursday, August 10th, 2017 at 2:06 pm    

According to a recent article in USA Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that 3 large automobiles received its Top Safety Pick following recent crash tests. Those vehicles are:

• The Lincoln Continental
• The Mercedes Benz E Class
• Toyota Avalon

Cars tested that did not receive the top rating included:
• Tesla Model S
• Ford Taurus
• Chevrolet Impala

According to a spokesman for IIHS, the Tesla, Impala and Taurus all had difficulty with the small overlap front crash test.This test was introduced in 2012 to test the cars ability to handle a collision on its front driver side corner as if it were hitting a telephone pole. The Kia Credenza also recently received the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus.
David Zuby, vice president of IIHS, noted that although IIHS rates cars in all size categories, the top safety designation in a large car category is typically safer than the same rating in a small car category. Large cars by virtue of being large, are safer than smaller ones. “Large cars, by virtue of being large, are safer than smaller ones,” Zuby said.

In order to earn the Top Safety Pick, the car must pass 5 safety tests which measure how a car responds to small overlap frontal crash, moderate overlap front and side crashes as well as roof strength and effectiveness of the headrest.
Additionally, as of 2017, cars must also have a good or acceptable headlight rating.

Source: An article appearing in usatoday.com on July 6, 2017 entitled “Three Big Cars Get Top IIHS Crash Rating – – Not Tesla” by Diana Kruzman.

IIHS TOUGHENS ITS STANDARDS FOR TOP SAFETY PICK STATUS

Posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2017 at 3:06 pm    

The IIHS(Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)recently announced that it has stiffened the criteria for its highest safety honors by requiring more stringent standards for vehicle headlights. IIHS President Adrian Lund said that “Automakers have not focused enough attention on whether or not headlamps are aimed such that they light up the road for the driver ahead of them”.

As a result of the new standards for headlight performance, only 38 models of the 2017 model year achieved the top score versus 79 from the 2016 model year.

IIHS noted that some luxury vehicles have recently started to incorporate headlights that shift with the curvature of the road in an effort to provide better illumination, but Lund stated that they don’t always work better than the plain old-fashioned kind. And, many headlights are failing to either provide adequate nighttime vision or causing too much glare for oncoming drivers.

Toyota and Lexus led the way for 2017 models with 9 of its models earning the Top Safety Pick Plus designation. Only one pickup truck earned the highest honor, which was the Honda Ridgeline. Lund noted that, in short, “… pickups are lagging behind in terms of meeting the safety advances that are out there.”

For more information regarding which vehicles earned the Top Safety Pick Plus status, visit the IIHS website.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on 12/08/16 entitled “Why only 38 cars earned IIHS top safety pick status” by Nathan Bomey

AIRBAG PROBLEMS CONTNUE TO DOG THE AUTO INDUSTRY

Posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2016 at 2:41 pm    

While the defective Takata airbag crisis continues to dominate the news on the recall front, there have been many other recalls this year related to airbag issues. Here are a few of the more recent prominent ones making the news:

In September, the USA Today reported that Fiat Chrysler was recalling 1.4 million of its vehicles to fix problems with an “occupant restraint control module”. This is a computer module which is supposed to work in tandem with a wire harness to detect frontal impact. If the module fails to work as intended, the airbag may not deploy and the seatbelt pretensions, which act to tighten the seatbelts in the event of a crash may not work. Vehicles involved in this recall are the 2010 Chrysler Sebring, 2011 to 2014 Chrysler 200, 2010 to 2012 Dodge Caliber, Dodge Avenger, and Jeep Patriot and Compass.

In July, Chevrolet recalled nearly 308,000 2009 through 2010 Chevrolet Impalas for a similar problem which was not caused by a defective module, but rather because the front passenger’s seat frame could cause damage to the module. The end result is the same – the airbag may not deploy and the seatbelt pretensions may not activate during a crash.

Also in July, following the death of a woman in Canada who was killed by an exploding airbag inflator made by ARC Automotive Inc. of Knoxville, TN, the United States and Canada launched an investigation into these inflators.

The Canadian woman was killed when the ARC inflator ruptured and sent metal shrapnel into the passenger compartment of her 2009 Hyundai Elantra. Canadian officials stated that without the shrapnel, the woman was likely to have survived the low speed crash.

NHTSA estimated that there are as many as 8 million ARC inflators under scrutiny. According to NHTSA, most of the ARC inflators in the U.S. are in older vehicles made by General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai and Kia.

Source: Articles appearing at USA Today on September 16, 2016 entitled Three deaths prompt Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 M cars by Chris Woodyard and an article appearing on July 22, 2016 entitled 308,000 Chevrolet Impalas recalled for faulty airbags by Kimiya Manoochehri and an AP article appearing in LNP on Friday, August 5,2016 entitled Death triggers airbag probes in US, Canada.

24/7 WALL STREET LISTS THE MOST DANGEROUS CARS IN AMERICA

Posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 at 3:00 pm    

24/7wallst.com recently published the list of the 12 “most dangerous” cars currently on American roads. 24/7wallst.com compiled this list by reviewing the crash worthiness evaluation results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and only considered generations of cars from the model year 2005 to the present. To be considered a “most dangerous” car, the model had to have received a poor or “marginal” rating in either the frontal crash impact or side crash impact safety test and also have received a “poor” rating on either the roof strength test, which simulates a vehicle rollover or the head restraint and seat test which simulates a rear-end collision.

In general, the safest cars tend to be the largest. In 2014, there were 55 driver deaths in subcompacts per million cars registered versus only 19 in large cars per million registered.

Here is the list of the most dangerous cars compiled by 24/7wallst.com:

1. 2000-2005 Dodge Neon
2. 1996-2005 GMC Safari van
3. 2001-2006 GMC Sierra 1500 pick-up
4. 2006-2011 Hyundai Accent
5. 2001-2005 Kia Optima
6. 2006-2009 Kia Rio
7. 2000-2006 Mazda MPV (van)
8. 2000-2006 Nissan Centra
9. 1999-2005 Pontiac Grand Am
10. 2002-2005 Saturn L Series
11. 2005-2008 Suzuki Forenza
12. 2003-2005 Suzuki Gran Vitara (SUV)

While many of the models listed above have been discontinued or redesigned, there are unfortunately many of these vehicles still on our highways today.

Source: An article appearing at 247wallst.com on October 11, 2016 entitled The most dangerous cars in America by Evan Comen and Michael B. Sauter.

CHARGES FILED IN JAPAN AS A RESULT OF A DEFECTIVE TAKATA AIRBAG

Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 at 1:48 pm    

The A.P. recently reported that a criminal complaint has been filed against Takata as a result of a defective airbag rupturing and injuring the front passenger of a Nissan X-Trail SUV in a freeway crash in Tokyo in October of 2015.

According to the news report, when the vehicle crashed into a truck on the freeway, the passenger side airbag burst improperly causing injuries to the front seat passenger while the driver’s seat airbag functioned properly. The vehicle involved was part of a recall in May of 2015 prior to the collision. While the vehicle had been brought in pursuant to the recall, no parts were replaced after it was checked to see if the inflator was airtight, which Nissan thought meant that it was safe.

Subsequent to this incident, Nissan has decided to replace all inflators regardless of whether or not they are airtight. Furthermore, Nissan stated if replacement parts are not available, the airbag will be turned off.

At this point, it is estimated that recalls of defective Takata airbags worldwide is likely to reach more than 100 million. Faulty Takata airbags are responsible for 11 deaths and more than a 100 injuries worldwide. And, two more recent deaths are currently under investigation in Malaysia.

This recall involves almost every major automaker including Honda, Toyota, Ford, and BMW as well as Nissan.

Unlike most airbag manufacturers, Takata uses ammonia nitrate in its inflators to create the small explosion that inflates the airbags in a crash. But testing has shown that this chemical compound can deteriorate over time when exposed to heat and humidity which causes it to burn faster than intended, which can cause the airbag inflator canister to explode sending shrapnel spewing in the passenger compartment.

Source: An AP article appearing at nytimes.com on June 8, 2016 entitled Criminal Complaint Filed in Japan Over Faulty Takata Air Bag.

SOME CAR MAKERS STILL SELLING NEW CARS WITH DEFECTIVE TAKATA AIRBAGS

Posted on Tuesday, July 5th, 2016 at 3:50 pm    

The New York Times reported that according to a recently released Senate Commerce Committee report at least four car manufacturers – Toyota, Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler and Mitsubishi are still selling new cars with defective Takata airbags that will need to be recalled.

Perhaps even more shocking, the automakers apparently are not required to tell buyers purchasing the new vehicles that they are equipped with the defective Takata airbags. In defending this practice, regulators emphasized that the newer airbags do not pose an immediate threat because it takes time for them to deteriorate.

Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, stated “I find it bizarre on multiple levels, . . Multiple mainstream automakers essentially know that they are selling cars that already have a defective part in them. And it’s not a defective windshield wiper or sun visor hinge. It’s an airbag, a primary safety device,”.

Mr. Brauer felt that this was occurring because automakers are struggling to find alternative suppliers for airbags.

Under the current recall schedule laid out in a consent order issued by the federal auto safety regulators, the defective airbags being installed in 2016 vehicles will need to be recalled by 2018. Toyota and Fiat Chrysler have refused to name the new models which contain the riskier airbags. Volkswagen stated that it’s 2016 Volkswagen CC, and it’s Audi brand 2016 Audi TT and it’s 2017 Audi R8 models contain the riskier Takata airbags. Mitsubishi said that it’s 2016 and 2017 model years of it’s i-MiEV electric car contains the riskier airbag.

Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book noted that “If a company is unwilling to disclose which models [contain the Takata airbags], I as a consumer would hesitate buying any of their cars until I know which ones are affected.”

Source: An article appearing at nytimes.com on June 1, 2016 entitled Automakers Still Selling Cars With Defective Takata Airbags by Hiroko Tabuchi.

AIRBAG WOES CONTINUE FOR THE AUTO MANUFACTURERS

Posted on Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 at 1:18 pm    

Nissan recently announced that it is recalling approximately 3.5 million vehicles because the front passenger’s airbag may not work properly in a crash.

According to an article appearing in the New York Times, this recall ends a two year effort by federal regulators to get Nissan to fix widespread problems with the occupant sensing system which is designed to detect whether or not the passenger seat is empty or occupied by a child or an adult.

The recall involves some of Nissan’s most popular models including: the 2013 – 2016 Ultima; 2014 – 2017 Rogue; 2016 – 2017 Maxima; 2015 – 2016 Murano; 2013 – 2017 Pathfinder; 2013 – 2016 Leaf; and the 2014 – 2016 Infinity Q50 and QX60.

It should be noted that this problem is different than the problem involving airbags using defective Takata inflators. The problem with airbags using the defective Takata inflators is that the inflators are defective and they can deploy with excessive force causing metal and plastic fragments/shards to strike the very individual that the airbag is intended to protect.

Source: An article appearing at nytimes.com entitled Nissan Recalls 3.5 Million Vehicles for Airbag Problems by Christopher Jensen on April 29, 2016.

SEATBELT DEFECT LEADS TO RECALL OF 1 MILLION TRUCKS BY GM

Posted on Thursday, June 2nd, 2016 at 1:44 pm    

According to a recent article appearing in the USA Today, GM is recalling more than 1 million of its pickup trucks due to a defect in its seatbelts. Apparently, the defect stems from a flexible steel cable which can wear out over time and eventually snap as a result of the driver repeatedly sitting down on the seat.

The recall affects 2014 and 2015 model-year Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks. This recall covers approximately one year’s worth of production of these popular vehicles by GM.

The recall affects vehicles in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Middle East. In a statement, GM said the cost of repairs will be free to owners and is not expected to be significant.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on April 15, 2016 by Nathan Bomey entitled GM seat-belt defect triggers 1 million-truck recall.

TESLA ISSUES ITS FIRST RECALL FOR ITS MODEL X CROSSOVER SUV

Posted on Thursday, April 28th, 2016 at 5:49 pm    

Tesla Motors recently announced the first recall of its new Model X crossover SUV due to a defective latch on the third row backseat which could fail in a crash. According to Tesla, the recall covers 2,700 of the Model X crossovers built before March 26, 2016. Tesla will replace the backseats with a new design.

Tesla stated that it initiated the recall when testing showed that the seatbacks failed to meet European standards requiring that the latch hold the seat upright during a crash. According to Tesla, the latch had passed prior testing in the U.S. and complied with U.S. standards.

Nevertheless, a spokesman for Tesla stated that this failure was the result of a manufacturing flaw by the vendor making the seats and that they had not received any reports from owners of the vehicles that the latch had failed. Jon McNeill stated that “we put safety at the very top of our list in terms of our priorities, so if there is any probability of an issue, we will take action”.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on April 12, 2016 entitled Tesla issuing first recall for Model X crossover SUV by Chris Woodyard.

MOST CAR HEADLIGHTS GET A POOR RATING

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2016 at 1:27 pm    

The results of a recently released safety study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that only 1 of 31 mid-sized cars offered a headlight option which merited a “good” rating for headlights. Furthermore, the study found that poor headlight performance was not exclusive to cheaper cars. In fact, the study found that many of the mid-sized luxury cars performed just as poorly as mainstream models or even worse.

According to the IIHS, given that about half of traffic deaths occur either in the dark or in dusk or dawn conditions, improved headlights have the potential to bring about substantial reductions in fatalities.

David Zuby, chief researcher for the IIHS, told the Associated Press that regulations for headlights “are essentially unchanged” since the 1960’s.

After evaluating 31 vehicles, the IIHS said that only one headlight option available on the Toyota Prius V qualified as good. That option required purchasing the advanced technology package with LED lights and high beam assist, which was available only on the highest trim level. The standard Prius is equipped with halogen headlights and gets a poor rating.

Only 11 models best headlight option qualified as acceptable. The ten models which were related as poor included Buick Verano, Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Limited, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mercedes C-Class and CLA, the Nissan Altima and the Volkswagen Passat. The BMW 3-series equipped with the halogen lights posted the worst overall performance of the cars tested.

The IIHS testing revealed headlight systems suffered from common problems of excessive glare and poor low beam visibility.

David Zuby of the IIHS noted that current government standards for headlights is based upon laboratory testing and permits huge variations in the amount of illumination that a headlight provides in actual on road driving.

Source: An article appearing at usatoday.com on March 30, 2016 entitled Headlight study: Only 1 out of 31 models rated ‘good’ by Nathan Bomey.