More than 34 million cars recalled in first half of 2015

According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 34 million vehicles have been recalled by manufacturers so far this year. The high number stems from recent vehicle concerns that have affected significant names like Fiat Chrysler and General Motors.

The only time when this number was surpassed in nearly 50 years was 2014, which saw roughly 15 million more vehicles recalled within the same amount of time. Before that, the highest amount of vehicles recalled between January and June was in 1981, largely in response to actions from Ford.

The most recent figures are reportedly connected to a wealth of different recall issues. These include not just the Takata air bag recall, itself the largest in American history, but concerns over cybersecurity in vehicles as well.

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More than 250 Lincoln Town Cars recalled for lack of seating

Dearborn, MI — August 31, 2015 — This July, Ford Motor Company announced a recall for many Lincoln MKT Town Cars missing the back seats. While the press release stated that 91 vehicles were involved in this action, the Part 573 report on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website states that 265 livery vehicles were potentially affected by this issue and violating safety regulations.

In addition to the missing seats, some of the cars could also be missing the spare tire. The response to this problem has been relatively quick, with the lack of seats first noticed on July 14 and field action first gaining approval on the 21st. The targeted vehicles were produced at Ford's Oakville Assembly plant earlier this year.

The NHTSA document describes the issues related to the lack of seating, including the discrepancy between what these vehicles say their occupancy is and the reality. There were reportedly no injuries associated with this problem as of August 21.

"The placard installed on these vehicles lists the designated seating capacity as five; two in front, three in rear," the report says. "These vehicles were designed and intended to have a second row seat; therefore, the front passenger seating position is not equipped with a tether anchorage."

Since the manufacturer has identified all of the vehicles included in this recall, it will not send specific letters to each owner, though it will "provide remedy instructions" to fleet representatives. This remedy involves installing the rear seat in those vehicles where it is missing, and is part of the original recall associated with the Town Cars.

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BMW recalls MINI Coopers for impact risk [Video]

More than 30,000 MINI Coopers will potentially be affected by a recent recall.

[marker] Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discovered that some MINI Coopers do not meet government structural regulations established by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Specifically, the low side impact rating in these cars would put rear seat passengers in danger. The recall will officially start on September 12.

[marker] The affected vehicles have model years between 2014 and 2015. Fixing this problem will involve installing special material into the exterior of the vehicle to absorb the shock of collision. According to the NHTSA, some vehicles will also receive a small foam patch as part of the update.

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Recalled Ram trucks could suffer suspension issues

Auburn Hills, MI — August 28, 2015 — Nearly 200 trucks are included in a new recall from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced this month. While there doesn't appear to be any information on this in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) recall database, TruckingInfo features information on this action and what it means for dealerships and users.

According to this source, the trucks are from the 2015 model year and include the Ram 4500 and 5000 model names. Though the recall itself isn't set to begin until next month, dealers are already instructed to replace the upper control arms to give the driver better reign over the vehicle and possibly keep a crash from occurring.

Even though this is just one recall for a relatively small number of trucks, it comes in the context of the greater scrutiny given to FCA and its recall practices. New England Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey have addressed the weak recall actions taken to address the vehicles, to which the government has taken new action. 

"This enforcement action is an improvement over the status quo, and it follows some of the measures that we have put forth in the Early Warning Reporting Systems Improvement Act, as it requires [Fiat Chrysler] to automatically submit documents related to potentially-fatal defects," the two of them said in a letter to the head Administrator of the NHTSA, as the Hill reported.

During this same month, the manufacturer also held a Las Vegas meeting in which it announced new vehicles in development, including a new Dodge Charger and Jeep Wrangler SUV.

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Nissan investigating Maxima fuel sending units [Video]

It hasn’t released an official notification yet, but Nissan is recalling thousands of 2016 Maximas for fuel system concerns.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the manufacturer believes as many as 5,458 vehicles may be affected. Although investigations are still ongoing, the recall concerns loose fuel sending units that have been improperly sealed, as well as o-rings that don’t match. The company has placed a quality assurance hold on the suspected models.

In these vehicles, the defective systems are reportedly more likely to rupture during a crash, leaking fuel and posing a fire hazard to drivers and passengers. As of July 31, Nissan had yet to develop a remedy but announced its intention to inform consumers as early as possible.

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Subaru recalls vehicles for transmission leaks

Washington, D.C. — August 26, 2015 — More than 2,890 vehicles may be affected by a seal cap issue that would leave occupants at risk of fire. As such, Subaru of America, Inc., has issued a recall beginning this month that includes the propeller shaft replacement measures that dealers can take to target this defect.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall acknowledgment document, two different Subaru models are involved in this action: the Subaru Legacy 4-Door and Subaru Outback. Both of these have the model years of 2015 and 2016, and both started production on the same date, July 3, 2015. The Legacy vehicles ended production on July 25, while production on the Outback ended two days later on the 27th.

The NHTSA also features a six-page instruction document for dealers on how to conduct the proper repairs in affected vehicles. This requires several parts, the source states, including a gasket filler plug and self-locking nut. 

"During assembly of the front slip yoke component of the propeller shaft, the sealing cap may have become deformed resulting in the possibility of a transmission fluid leak," it reads. "Fluid leaking from the deformed sealing cap may leak onto the exhaust system. Because none of the propeller shaft components are serviceable, the assembly must be replaced." The document goes on to advise inspection of the new propeller shaft for cracks or other defaults before repairs commence.

In addition, retailers have also been informed of the "STOP SALE" order now in place intended to prevent vehicles from being delivered without being properly identified, marked and repaired.

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Airbag concerns lead to new GM recall

Washington, D.C. — August 25, 2015 — Adding to the recent wealth of recalls from various manufacturers over airbag deployment concerns, General Motors is now recalling thousands of Chevrolet Impalas. This issue focuses on a defect that would leave only infant passengers and younger children at risk, according to the Detroit News. Owners with children may have to think carefully about the possible dangers of driving these cars with them in the front seat.

Impalas manufactured as late as this June could sport a defect that doesn't detect if a child seat is installed in the front of the vehicle. The error comes from a calibration problem in an electronic vehicle module, which in turn traces back to issues during vehicle assembly. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) features a recall bulletin detailing the steps needed to correct the "passenger service system" in affected vehicles and improve safety. The fix reportedly takes less than an hour of labor time. The recall specifically applies to those vehicles with vented-heated seats.

"Before the passenger presence system can be re-zeroed the front passenger seat must be completely empty of all items," the bulletin reads. "The presence of any liquid or items on the front passenger seat will affect the calibration and operation of the passenger presence system."

A total of 8,989 Impalas are targeted in this action, most of them in the United States and Canada. The NHTSA document indicates that the warning light could turn on when the seat isn't occupied in the recalls, possibly leading users to discern exactly how at risk they and their families are.

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Government letter urges complete Takata airbag inflator recall

Washington, D.C. — August 21, 2015 — The recent recalls of Takata airbag inflators have so far concerned specific sections of the vehicle population that contains the defective systems, with more than 50 million vehicles recalled for this issue around the world so far, according to the Japan Times. However, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey are pushing the manufacturer to go further and recall all of the units that contain ammonium nitrate.

Car and Driver quotes the letter issued by the senators, which stands to add millions of cars to the already high number of those included in the separate previous efforts. While the growing number of recalls has led to some possible revelations of what causes and exacerbates the inflator explosions, there still has not been a set cause or source determined since the initial recalls began in 2008.

This latest letter was spurred on by a new incident in which a Takata airbag in a 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan exploded after a crash. The fact that new vehicles aren't safe from this occurrence means that consumers are still at risk and the company still has a responsibility to improve recall efforts, the senators stated.

"This directly undercuts Takata's continued insistence—despite growing evidence to the contrary—that the flaws in its airbag inflators are limited to prior designs in older model cars and only present when the airbags have prolonged exposure to extremely humid conditions, the letter reads.

The source notes that Takata may not respond, although the company has already said that it is going to change to a different propellant for its products.

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Old General Motors recall will include new vehicles

Detroit, MI — August 20, 2015 — In 2014, General Motors issued a recall for more than 316,000 vehicles manufactured in a three-year period between 2006 and 2009. As the Associated Press notes, that recall concerned several different models, such as the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Buick Rainier, and was intended to fix an electrical failure that could prevent low-beam headlights from working.

Recently, the manufacturer announced that it is expanding this recall to include 181,000 North American autos for the same reason, extending the action to the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Allure and Pontiac Grand Prix. There is allegedly no permanent remedy for this issue developed yet, although dealers can make do with a temporary replacement in the meantime.

The Detroit News also reported on this recent expansion, noting that the company informed consumers of this stopgap as recently as this January. The module fault is exacerbated by hot temperatures in the engine area.

The News also quotes company spokesman Alan Adler on the problems associated with this danger and what dealers have to do to respond to the situation without the final remedy plan in place.

"These vehicles could intermittently or permanently lose low beam headlamps," he said. "Until a permanent repair is available, dealers will replace the headlamp module with a new one of the existing part." Insight into this case has led the government to investigate supplier Delphi Corporation, who is responsible for the distribution of the module. As of this writing, the total amount of recalls connected to this action is 493,265, none of which have contributed to reports of incidents.

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Ford recalls trucks over seatbelt issue

Dearborn, MI — August 19, 2015 — In a new press release, Ford Motor Company recently announced a safety compliance recall that will encompass several thousand vehicles in the United States and Canada. According to this source, the seat belt anchorage defects in certain F-650 and F-750 stem from the Escobedo Assembly Plant where they were put together.

Only 417 of the recalled autos are in Canada: more than 25,940 of them are in the United States, and the model years include 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. The affected vehicles were produced between 2011 and 2015, and a proper remedy procedure is reportedly "still being developed" in the wake of the large volume of recalled vehicles.

Though the improper alignment of seat belt systems that prompted this recall has not led to any known incidents yet, the manufacturer stated that the current position in these vehicles does leave them liable for possible injury in certain situations.

"In these vehicles, the front passenger and center seat belts might not be anchored in the correct position relative to the seat, increasing the risk of injury in a crash," the statement reads. The Detroit News put this action into a greater context by noting that Ford has recalled nearly 4 million total vehicles in more than 20 different recalls. Ford is said to be shifting its production away from this plant.

This compares to the national statistics, which have encompassed 32.4 million vehicles within a series of "nearly 500 campaigns" this year so far. Last year, more than 800 campaigns were issued for a total of nearly 64 million.

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