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The Latest News And Reviews
Throughout The Car Industry

Categories: Safety

Allstate Brings Lawsuit Against Toyota For Unintended Acceleration

On: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 9:38AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Allstate Brings Lawsuit Against Toyota For Unintended Acceleration test 1-1

Just as it seems that the Toyota saga is over, another lawsuit is brought against the Japanese automaker, this time by Allstate Insurance Company. The lawsuit involves all of the claims paid out for past accidents that were linked to unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. A total of $3 million was reportedly paid out by Allstate insurance company.

The lawsuit was filed last Friday in California Supreme Court. Some project that this is just the beginning of “a relatively new front in the wave of U.S. civil litigation piling up against the Japanese automaker for economic losses resulting from complaints about Toyotas that have sped out of control and crashed,” according to Auto News.com.

According to Chirstina Loznicka, Allstate spokeswoman: "We are expected to be one of several insurance companies that are taking this action." Allstate claims that Toyota could have taken action that would have prevented the accidents by installing brake override systems in vehicles.

The law suit that Allstate has filed against Toyota claims that the acceleration defects were caused by a problem with the electronic throttle systems in recalled Toyota vehicles and that Toyota “essentially hid the problem.”  The suit claims, "This has resulted in numerous claims of instances of property damage and injuries, including, in some instances, fatalities.”

The claims paid that Allstate attributes to Toyota vehicles total over $3 million which may be the beginning of additional suits brought by other insurance companies.

Toyota spokesperson Steven Curtis stated: "Based on reports we believe the unfounded allegations in this suit have no basis."  Toyota continues to stick to its claim that no electronic defects were found even after examination of thousands of vehicles involved in the recent recall and so far in the NHTSA investigation. Federal regulators' findings agree but the investigation of 89 deaths resulting from crashes that were linked to unintended acceleration in Toyota cars continues.

198,000 BMW's To Be Recalled For Brake Leakage

On: Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 2:17PM | By: John Welch

BMW 7 Series test 2

A collective "D'oh!" could be heard emanating for BMW North America's headquarters this morning, as company execs read the startling news that 198,000 of their babies would have to recalled over a braking issue. Thankfully, this is BMW and not Toyota, so instead of the requisite "cover it up for six years" mentality employed by their Japanese counterparts, BMW is taking the initiative and ordering a recall before the customary NHTSA report is released. Good on ya, Bimmer, way to jump the shark or whatever . . .

The recall encompasses all BMW products built between 2002 and 2010, that feature 8- or 12-cylinder engines. Yes, overpaid hedge-fund yuppies, that means Rolls Royce as well. In the affected vehicles, it is possible for the power braking system to leak. This can result in a loss of vacuum pressure and a reduction in the amount of braking assistance the system gives the driver. When this occurs, the mechanical brakes still function and can slow and stop the car, but requires more driver effort to press the pedal. See? It isn't even that bad! There have been no reports of any injuries or deaths as a result of this issue.

BMW is setting up an inspection and repair procedure, and will distribute this info along with spare parts to its entire North American dealer network. Though affected customers will be alerted by first-class mail, anyone experiencing braking issues with their Bimmer should report the issue to an authorized BMW service center immediately.

Venture inside the post for a list of affected vehicles . . .

Volvo Announces The Pedestrian Detection System

On: Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 1:37PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Volvo Announces The Pedestrian Detection System test 1-1

Volvo’s new S60 sedan has been announced with a recent press release describing one innovative safety feature: the pedestrian detection system. Volvo engineers promised the new pedestrian detection system would actually stop the car by itself. According to Volvo approximately in 11%, or 4,700, of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are pedestrians. In Europe it's about 14 percent, and in China 26 percent.

True to Volvo's tradition of emphasizing safety, the S60 will feature a collision warning system with an automatic brake function, in addition to the pedestrian protection feature which can recognize the presence of pedestrians on the road. Once the vehicle reaches speeds of more than 25 mph the automatic braking procedure is triggered, if the driver does not react in time, slowing the car down to reduce the collision severity as much as possible.

In live crash test dummy evaluations, drivers were instructed to maintain a steady speed of 22 mph heading straight to an adult or child-size dummy. Just at the point where a collision seemed inevitable, a chime gives an audible warning and a bar illuminates on the windshield, and then the brakes automatically engage, stopping just a foot or more from the dummy. At speeds of over 25 mph the feature will engage but will not bring the vehicle to a complete stop.

Transportation Secretary LaHood's Message to Automakers: 'No More [Technological] Distractions'

On: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 4:22PM | By: Chris Weiss

Transportation Secretary LaHood's Message to Automakers: 'No More [Technological] Distractions' test 1-1

At a distracted driving summit this week, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood sent out a new edict to automakers: enough of the gadgets, gizmos, and technological wonders that are going to distract drivers. He detailed plans to work with automakers toward creating new regulatory standards for in-vehicle technology. As systems like MyFord and in-vehicle Wi-Fi gain more popularity, it should be interesting to see how the government responds.

Over the past several years, vehicles have been incorporating new types of technology that include integrated hard drives for MP3s, Internet capabilities, and even social networking. Automakers make their way to the Consumer Electronics Show, in addition to the myriad auto shows around the world, to launch and demonstrate their latest electronic marvels.

While these changes reflect a society that is more connected to and dependent upon technology than generations past, they also present big, new implications for road safety. Texting and driving, talking on a cell phone, and other distractions have long been considered a major bane on highways, so what happens when technologies like Internet, Facebook, and Twitter start showing up right on your dashboard?


Bentley Recalls 600 Autos For Rusty Hood Ornament

On: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 9:36AM | By: Chris Weiss

Bentley Recalls 600 Autos For Rusty Hood Ornament  test 1-1

Ahhhhhh...to be rich. Not only do you get to drive around in a $300,000 car out of a vintage Grey Poupon commercial, but you get a free fix for the most basic vehicle problem ever: rust. Bentley issued a recall of 596 cars this week, not for something weighty like unintended accelaration or steering problems, but for a rusty "flying B" hood emblem. You know, because you can't exactly show up to a party in the Hamptons with a tarnished Bentley emblem on your hood.

The recall affects 2007 to 2009 Arnage R, Arnage T, Arnage RL, Brooklands, and Azure models. Bentley dealers will replace the flying B with a new one, and all will be right in the realm of hedge fund owners and rap stars.

While the problem looks like the type of purely cosmetic issue that only a self-obsessed multi-millionaire would be worried over, the NHTSA indicates that it's actually a safety issue. The rust can interfere with the retracting capabilities of the hood ornament, which could cause greater injury if the driver runs into a pedestrian—like when he had one too many flutes of Dom at said Hamptons party and has to rush back into the city without regard for traffic lights.

The emblem is designed to retract in the event of a crash so it doesn't...you know...impale someone. The supplier for the mechanism has made the retractable action smoother so that water doesn't collect inside and cause rusting.

Ford Introduces Contoured Air Bags in 2012 Focus

On: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 4:20PM | By: Chris Weiss

Ford Introduces Contoured Air Bags in 2012 Focus  test 1-1

There's a face in my air bag! Ford's new contoured air bags remind me a little bit of looking at an evil, large-brained Michelin Man, but they serve a righteous cause: mitigating the possibility of injury in an accident. Continuing its commitment toward innovation in safety, Ford announced its new and improved front and side air bag technology last week.

The contoured section of the new driver-side air bag is designed to limit impact of the chest and ribs in the event of a crash. A tether system creates the depression that you see above and helps to make for a less harmful impact.

On the passenger side, the side air bags feature newly implemented vents that can decrease the pressure for smaller occupants. The vents are placed toward the top of the air bag, meaning that larger passengers will cover them up and get the support of a fully pressurized bag, whereas smaller occupants will hit the air bags below the vents causing air to be diverted out. The lower pressurization is designed to provide less impact for smaller passengers.

The frontal passenger-side air bags also deploy differently based upon the size of the occupant. Instead of vents, these air bags use sensors to determine the size of the passenger and deploy accordingly.

Cadillac Recalls CTS And CTS-V, Passengers Urged to Buckle Up

On: Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 2:48PM | By: John Welch

Cadillac Recalls CTS And CTS-V, Passengers Urged to Buckle Up test 1-1

The Cadillac CTS is stylish and satisfying, in ways few American-made luxury sedans are able to muster. Though penny-pinching is evident, the interior of this fine auto is more driver-centric than any other vehicle rolling out of Motown. Unless you are seated on the passenger side, you're too dumb to wear your seat belt, and the CTS you currently occupy drills a telephone poll.

According to the Detroit Free Press, tests conducted by the government found that a front seat passenger not wearing a seat belt could strike the glove box door and sustain leg injuries in a crash.

GM said all motorists should wear seat belts (dUh). The automaker plans to begin notifying owners of the recall next month. Dealers will replace the glove compartment assembly at no charge.

Owners can contact Cadillac at 866-982-2339. If you have already been injured by a CTS glove box, and weren't wearing a seatbelt, please slap yourself in the mouth for being an ass.

Next Generation Vehicles Will Have More Safety Features

On: Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 12:28PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Next Generation Vehicles Will Have More Safety Features test 1-1

In the automotive industry, newer high-tech safety features have historically been reserved for high-end luxury cars, due to the increased cost of research and development of new technology. But all of that is about to change, according to Continental AG, the world’s biggest powertrain, chassis, and interior systems supplier. Continental is predicting a significant influx of high-tech safety features, even in mid-range priced vehicles, in the next 3–5 years.

Toyota Will Push Safety in New Ad Campaign

On: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 10:09AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Toyota Will Push Safety in New Ad Campaign test 1-1

Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to completely revise its marketing philosophy to focus on safety “in a big way,” according to top company executives. With its image still damaged and sales declining by 34% in August (down 1% for the year), Toyota is the only automaker posting overall declining sales numbers this year.

Executives at Toyota report that they believe the number one problem that consumers are having is focused on safety issues, so the company plans to overcome that negative perception with a new advertising campaign.

Toyota was considered number one when it came to safety and reliability, as well as value, but many loyal Toyota buyers and others are now skeptical as to whether or not the Toyota brand is really deserving of the label of “safety first.”

Ferrari Solves 458 Fires, Plans Recall

On: Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 10:03AM | By: Chris Weiss

Ferrari Solves 458 Fires, Plans Recall test 1-1

Just a week after announcing that it was looking into fire issues on its 458 Italia, Ferrari has identified the problem at the heart of some of the fires and intends to issue a recall to repair it. The news comes as media sources have reported at least 10 fires and accidents involving the 458 in the past three months, leading some to go so far as to speculate that the model is jinxed.

The problem that Ferrari identified as the cause of the fires is an adhesive that binds the engine heat shield to the wheel arch assemblies can overheat, smoke and catch fire. Ferrari says that the problem happens in hot ambient temperatures and when the car is driven aggressively (read: driven like a 458 Italia).

A Ferrari spokesperson explained the issue to Autocar: "When the car is driven to high exhaust temperatures, in hot ambient temperatures, the adhesive used in the wheelarch assemblies can overheat and allow the rear wheel housing heat shields to move around. In extreme cases, the glue can begin to smoke and even catch fire."

Dodge Durango Launches In Anger

On: Thu, Sep 2, 2010 at 3:39PM | By: John Welch

Dodge Durango Launches In Anger test 1-1

Chrysler has always had trouble unloading SUVs that don't carry "Jeep" badges. Remember the Ram Charger? Chevy sold five C/K Blazers for every Ram Charger. Ford sold seven Broncos for each Ram Charger. Yikes, not good! The numbers get worse for the Durango. The Ford Explorer absolutely trounced the Durango in every calculable sales statistic during the nineties and early 2000s.

Dodge is rebooting and revamping its mid-size contender for 2011, and just like its Jeep cousin, the Grand Cherokee, the Durango is completely new. In many ways, this Dodge represents the first in a string of new products designed to shed the Ram brand's poor reputation for out-dated styling and technology. You can't glean too much from pictures and descriptions, but on paper this well balanced ute might be a winner. It looks pretty good as well.

Slab sided, proportional body panels converge on muscular headlights and a complicated chrome grille. This grille, I'm sure, can be ordered in flat-black. It marks the first time I have been taken aback by a Chrysler design that wasn't packing ten cylinders. The Durango is attractive in the way Gina Gershon is attractive; rough around the edges but still a solid knock-out. Some of that appeal may come from Gina's ability to knock you out, and that trait may also extend to the Durango. This is an impressive machine, on the outside. Like any good Corvette, the worst part about Chrysler products is their cheapo, Little Tykes interiors . . . how does the Durango look from the driver’s seat?