October 10, 2012
NHTSA Warns About Counterfeit Air Bags
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today will warn millions of owners of cars repaired after collisions that they could have counterfeit air bags that may not inflate properly in an accident. NHTSA officials believe "tens of thousands of counterfeit air bags" may be in vehicles repaired after crashes in the United States. Most, if not all, of the replacement safety devices were made in China. According to The Detroit News, NHTSA is issuing a consumer safety advisory that warns vehicle owners and body shops to their dangers. NHTSA is not aware of any deaths or injuries connected to counterfeit air bags. "We want consumers to be immediately aware of this problem and to review our safety information to see if their vehicle could be in need of inspection," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. NHTSA released a list of nearly 100 vehicles that could have counterfeit air bags. It includes certain model years of the Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Volt, Ford Focus, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Jetta, and Nissan Altima. AIADA will issue a dealer alert following the NHTSA press conference with the latest information for dealers. Click here to read more about NHTSA’s investigation into counterfeit airbags.
Toyota to Recall 7.4 Million Vehicles Globally on Power Window Glitch
According to Automotive News, Toyota Motor Corp. announced the industry's biggest single automotive recall since 1996, saying it will pull back 7.43 million vehicles worldwide – including 2.47 million in the United States – to fix power window switches. The U.S. action covers various 2007 through 2009 models of the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Yaris, RAV4, Tundra, Scion xD, Scion xA, Sequoia, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, Corolla, and Matrix. About 240,000 vehicles in Canada are also affected. The power window switches can be repaired in about an hour depending on the dealer's work schedule, the company said in a statement. The automaker said driver's-side switches are prone to having a "notchy" or "sticky" feel. If commercial lubricants are applied to address the issue, the switch assembly could melt or emit smoke and in some cases cause a fire. Toyota said it hasn't received any reports of injuries or accidents because of the issue. About 1.4 million vehicles in China and 1.39 million in Europe are also affected. Click here for more on Toyota’s global recall due to issues with vehicle power window switches.
What is the Most Popular Car Color in the World?
When it comes to cars, consumers around the world who are offered a wide palette of colors continue to choose white, according to an annual survey by paint supplier PPG Industries. White retained the top spot for a second year, after unseating silver, according to the annual automotive color popularity and trend data released today. The findings are based on vehicles built this year. According to The Detroit Free Press, the survey shows overall use of color on the rise and metallics, including gold, bronze, and copper, gaining in popularity. Core colors remain dominant: white is closely followed by silver, which shows off styling well, and then black, gray, and red. And there are regional differences. White was tops everywhere but in North America it is followed by black, silver, and gray tied at 16 percent each, while green snags 3 percent. White is the choice for many fleet vehicles, especially trucks. Europe is tiring of silver, which drops to 13 percent; blue, natural – defined as gold or tan – and red are tied at 7 percent each. For more on this year’s most popular paint colors, click here.
The Most-Reliable Used Cars
The savings involved in buying a used vehicle rather than new can be considerable. Unfortunately, according to Forbes, buying a used car is typically a far more perilous decision to make, particularly with regard to a vehicle’s mechanical condition. One otherwise comparable pre-owned car may have logged an excessive number of miles than another or may have been largely neglected by its owner. And some vehicles just age better than others in terms of styling, features, performance – and most importantly – long-term reliability. Forbes has identified what its analysis indicates are among the most dependable used cars on the market from the 2008 and 2009 model years. Each vehicle in its top-10 list garnered the highest marks for reliability from both Consumer Reports surveys and J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Vehicle Dependability studies. In particular, all received top scores from both sources in powertrain dependability, which affects key components like the engine, transmission, steering and suspension. Each of these models also performed well in initial quality surveys and new-car reviews, including our own experiences with road testing the vehicles over the years. Click here to see the list. For more on the most reliable used cars, click here.
How a Slowdown in China Could Hurt GM, VW, and Toyota
The Chinese auto market looks like it’s slowing down, and, reports The Wall Street Journal, that’s not good news for big global auto makers including General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG, and Toyota Motor Corp. Chinese consumers may be shunning Japanese cars for nationalistic reasons, but there are signs that it’s getting tougher for all auto makers to hit their ambitious sales targets in the world’s largest auto market. Sales in July, the last month for which there’s comprehensive data, fell 12.6 percent from June levels, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. A prolonged slowdown in the growth rate of Chinese auto sales – let alone a real contraction – will expose how oversupplied with car factories and car brands China has become, says John Humphrey, an analyst with the consulting and market research firm J.D. Power and Associates. China has about 95 different automotive brands, he says. All together, domestic and foreign auto makers have the capacity to build 28.5 million cars and commercial vehicles in China – about 9 million more than customers are likely to buy this year. Read more about China’s shifting auto market and what it could mean for automakers here.
Even with High Gas Prices, Drivers Question Value of E85
With gasoline prices hovering near record highs, many of the millions of motorists who drive so-called "flex fuel" vehicles are wondering when it makes sense to switch to ethanol. The answer is probably never. While the price of ethanol, or E85, is lower than the price of regular unleaded, it provides less energy and, therefore, worse mileage than gas, reports The Detroit News. In Brazil, where most cars and trucks are capable of running on either gasoline or ethanol, it is often cheaper to fuel up with the latter. That is because Brazilian ethanol is made from sugar cane, a far better source than the corn used in this country. In the United States, the situation is far more complicated. E85 is government shorthand for a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. But the actual percentage of ethanol in the fuel can vary widely – from 83 percent to just 51 percent. And regular gasoline can contain up to 10 percent ethanol – in some cases, as much as 15 percent. In many parts of the U.S., consumers have no way of knowing which blend they are getting. Click here for more on confusion surrounding E85 gas blends.
Join Dealers in Orlando for AIADA’s 43rd Annual Meeting and Luncheon
Each year, AIADA’s dealers gather to consider where the international nameplate auto industry stands and prepare for what the future holds. Join fellow dealers and industry insiders in Orlando, Florida on February 11, 2013 for its 43rd Annual Meeting and Luncheon. This year, we’ll discuss how the economy is Driven by the international nameplate auto industry and what dealers can do to maintain their edge. Featuring keynote remarks by Mercedes-Benz USA President and CEO Steve Cannon, the presentation of the David F. Mungenast, Sr. Lifetime Achievement Award, and the passing of the gavel from 2012 Chairman Ray Mungenast of Missouri to 2013 Chairwoman Jenell Ross of Ohio, the 43rd Annual Meeting and Luncheon is a can't-miss event for international nameplate dealers, as well as their employees. Register today by clicking here or by calling 1-800-GO-AIADA.
Around the Web
The World's Fastest Sedan is this 260 MPH 1992 Audi [Jalopnik]
BMW Maintains Sales Lead Over Audi, Mercedes-Benz [Autoblog]
From McLaren and Neiman Marcus, a Potent Holiday Fantasy [Wheels]
Honda's Renaissance of Radical Reasonableness [WSJ]