Saturday, June 24, 2017

FCA tries to dodge Demon responsibility

Larry P. Vellequette

FCA tries to dodge Demon responsibility

Dodge, in a three-page "customer acknowledgement," tells customers they must understand the Demon's power and potential for personal destruction.​
It seems I have some company when it comes to concern over how the general public will use/misuse the 840-hp Dodge Demon when it arrives later this year.
Given the tone of the very seriously written acknowledgment letter (which you can read in full here) that Demon buyers will be forced to sign in front of a notary just to place an order, it seems Fiat Chrysler and its legal defense team have some similar issues. The letter was revealed Wednesday on, the FCA-centric website.

As I did to much wailing and gnashing of teeth in April, I still take great issue with the nearly treadless Nitto drag radials that come standard on the $86,090 Challenger SRT Demon. Their lack of tread make them extremely dangerous in wet and cold conditions, and I suggested that making the drag radials a $1 option or even traditionally treaded street tires a $1 option was an easy -- though admittedly less profitable -- fix.
Funny thing: In the acknowledgment letter, Demon customers are warned that the "Drag tires are not recommended for driving in wet weather conditions where there is a risk of hydroplaning." They are also told, sternly, that "Customer shall not move the vehicle in temperatures below 15 degrees (Fahrenheit) with the Drag Tires. In temperatures below 15? F, the Drag Tires can lose flexibility and that may lead to cracking and other tire damage."
So you can't move the Demon below 15 degrees? Has anybody considered that this car is scheduled to be built over the winter? In Canada?
And speaking of those problematic tires, better not take them on the highway, the letter warns: "They are not intended for highway use, as the expected miles of wear from the racing compound is greatly reduced."

I also took issue with the Demon's launch control, suggesting that it was unconscionable to allow consumers to instantaneously engage the system, potentially unleashing the Demon's full horsepower every time they pull up next to a Corvette or a Tesla. As an alternative, I suggested a two-minute delay before the launch control would be fully engaged, which would make it harder for amateurs to endanger the motoring public every time their manhoods were challenged at a stoplight.
Funny thing: The acknowledgment letter also forces the Demon buyer to agree that he or she will "never use any 'Track-Use' features, functions, equipment or parts on public roads or any other prohibited area. The intended use of 'Track-Use' features, functions, equipment or parts is for race vehicles on race tracks."
Dodge's acknowledgment letter for the Demon also goes to great lengths to make sure that the potential customer, "their personal representatives and heirs and next of kin" (I have a feeling "next of kin" is going to be used a lot more than people want to accept) understand the Demon's power and potential for personal destruction.​ To order a Demon, the customer must agree that he or she "assumes all risk" and waives "any and all claims against FCA US LLC and/or Dealer."
Of course, the letter is absolutely silent about what happens when the Demon is sold used to a second legal owner.

Honda HRV Sudden Unintended Acceleration

Sudden acceleration

When I was pulling into a parking spot, moving slowly, the car suddenly surged forward, jumped the curb and flattened a parking sign. One moment the car was in the parking space and the next it was up on the grass.

There's no way that a driver pulling into a parking spot would ever use the amount of force it would have taken to jam the gas pedal down enough to cause the car to do that, if it would even be possible.

I've seen a lot of information on the Internet about Honda and sudden acceleration. The dealer said there is nothing from Honda stating a known problem in the 2017 HR-V.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name: IMG_0800 2.jpg
Views: 42
Size: 352.9 KB
ID: 23434

Honda Admits Software Problem, Recalls 175,000 Hybrids


MADISON, Wis. — For the first time, an automobile company has conceded that a software glitch in electronic control units could cause cars to accelerate suddenly, forcing drivers to scramble to take emergency measures to prevent an accident. Honda Motor Co., citing software problems, announced Thursday that it is recalling 175,000 hybrid vehicles in Japan.

Honda revealed that some hybrid versions of its Fit and Vezel subcompacts could suddenly accelerate without warning.

A Honda spokesman in Tokyo told Bloomberg that unintended acceleration incidents have caused property damage, but no injuries or deaths thus far. The recall affects only vehicles that were sold in Japan.

Anthony Anderson, a UK electrical engineering consultant, told EE Times, "To the best of my knowledge, this recall is the first occasion on which any car manufacturer has admitted publicly to a link between a software malfunction and sudden acceleration and issued a recall to fix the software."

Not coincidentally, Toyota Motor Corp. is busy settling several hundred lawsuits contending that its vehicles inadvertently accelerated. The carmaker has never acknowledged the software issue. Instead, it blamed dozens of injuries and deaths on loose floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals, and driver error.

The only time Toyota's defective software faced public scrutiny occurred in last fall's Bookout v Toyota Motor Corp. trial. An Oklahoma County jury found Toyota liable for a crash and awarded $1.5 million of compensation to the driver, Jean Bookout, who was injured in the crash, and $1.5 million to the family of a passenger, Barbara Schwarz, who died.

After the jury verdict, Toyota Motor Corp. reached a confidential settlement with the victims to avoid punitive damages.

"Honda, by acknowledging its mistakes, is much more likely to survive than companies that push problems under the floormat and claim that the problems do not exist," Anderson said.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times 

Related posts:

NHTSA ID Number: 11000029
Incident Date June 19, 2017
Consumer Location HERNDON, VA
Vehicle Identification Number N/A
Summary of Complaint
NHTSA ID Number: 10983307
Incident Date February 18, 2017
Consumer Location Unknown
Vehicle Identification Number 3CZRU5H51HM****
Summary of Complaint

COA finds firetrucks bought from China defective

COA finds firetrucks bought from China defective

June 23, 2017

MANILA, June 23 -- The Commission on Audit(COA) found some firetrucks procured from China as defective, which could affect the capability of the country’s regions to efficiently respond to emergency cases and effectively carry out Bureau of Fire Protection's (BFP) mission to prevent and suppress destructive fires.
The COA Report ending in December 31,2016 also noted some irregularities in the PHP 2.577 billion procurement deal by the BFP entered with a Filipino-Chinese joint venture in 2015.
The COA Report stated that 37 percent, or 176 out of the 469 firetrucks delivered by the joint venture of Kolonwel Trading, the local partner, and Hubei Jiangnan Special Automobile Company Ltd. of China were defective.
The contract was for the supply of 244 firetruck units with 1,000-gallon capacity at PHP 6 million each and 225 units with 500-gallon capacity at PHP 5 million each with the objective of achieving a set of reliable, fast and efficient fire trucks.
The Report stated this objective did not materialize as viewed from the various defects noted in the 176 (or 37 per cent) out of the 469 fire trucks delivered in 2015.
According to the Report, a total of 39 defects in the 176 firetrucks ranging from simple faults such as damaged side mirrors, busted front and rear lights to the more serious ones such as “engine shuts-off even during operation,” “sudden unintended swerving specially at running state” and “sudden acceleration of engine.”
It was on Feb. 2, 2015 when the BFP executed with Kolonwel joint venture the purchase contract amounting PHP2,577,275,000.
This was after the BFP Bids and Awards Committee in October 2014 post-disqualified the two other bidders for supposedly being “unresponsive” or failing to meet some technical requirements and as of May 9, 2017, it showed 107 of the trucks still needed to be repaired by the supplier.
The Audit Team Leaders (ATLs) of the BFP Regional Offices 1, 6 and 11 issued AOMs (Audit Observation Memorandum) on reported noted defects in the fire trucks and observed that the defects would affect the capability of the end-user Regions to efficiently respond to emergency cases and effectively carry out BFP’s mission to prevent and suppress destructive fires, the Report stated.
The COA questioned BFP's choice of supplier, noting that Kolonwel Trading, the Filipino majority partner in the joint venture had “questionable 60 percent Filipino ownership/interest.”
The Report revealed that under their agreement, the parties should contribute PHP 100 million as initial funding requirement of the JV (joint venture) whereby Kolonwel should put up PHP 60 million, or 60 percent, COA noted.
The audit body noted that Kolonwel's declared assets only amounted to PHP 1.4 million in 2012 and PHP 1.6 million in 2013. Thus, it is highly unlikely that it can put up the PHP 60 million initial funding share agreed upon in its joint venture agreement with Chinese firm Hubei.
Considering Kolonwel Trading’s assets in CYs 2012 and 2013,the financial capability to contribute the PHP 60 million to the JV was highly questionable. This casted doubt the 60 percent Filipino interest in the JV, affecting its eligibility to participate in the public bidding.
In the report it was noted that the quality evaluation of the delivered firetrucks was done in haste with BFP failing to collect penalties from the joint venture for the delays in the delivery of the units and other violations in the contract.
The audit body noted that the the BFP's decision to buy cheaper models instead of units of higher price but of proven better quality.
The delivery of the defective firetrucks could have been prevented had there been “judicious and meticulous planning” on the part of the BFP, it said. (PR/PNA)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Crash victims file $95 million suit against Kia Corp.

Crash victims file $95 million suit against Kia Corp.

Posted on Friday, April 28, 2017 

brian justice
The parents of twin brothers who died from a Dec. 31, 2015, collision on Dinah Shore Boulevard are suing the car corporation they deem responsible for $95 million.
Coffee County residents Aaron Hill and his wife, Lynetta Hill, have filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Tennessee on grounds Kia Motors and its parent group, Hyundai-Kia Automotive, are responsible for what occurred on New Year’s Eve more than a year ago.
They are seeking $35 million in compensatory damages and $60 million in punitive damages.
The lawsuit stems from the collision that claimed the lives of 7-year-old twin brothers John and James Hill.
It says that as a “direct and proximate result of the defendants’ negligence, Aaron Hill and Lynetta Hill sustained serious and permanent bodily injuries and emotional and mental injuries,” and their minor children were fatally injured.
When the collision occurred, the Hills were stopped at the red light in Winchester at the Dinah Shore Boulevard-Bypass Road intersection facing south. The twin boys were in the back seat.
Without warning, from behind, the Hill family’s minivan was hit with such force, the rear end of the minivan was collapsed practically into the front seat. The wreckage flew across the intersection as the minivan spun 360 degrees at least once and hit the front of the truck.
The vehicle that hit the Hill’s minivan, a tan 2008 Kia, was driven by 83-year-old Mary Parks. Her passenger, Jimmie Northcutt, another older woman, was riding in the back seat.
Witnesses said they saw the Kia speeding erratically south on the Boulevard moments before it slammed into the Hill’s vehicle. The front end of the Kia was nearly non-existent due to the force with which it hit. It did not appear that brakes had been applied at all.
The speedometer in the Kia had frozen at 90 miles an hour due to the impact, police reports said.
James died shortly after the impact. John was airlifted to Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center and later passed away.
Aaron was also taken away from the scene in critical condition, and Lynetta had to be pulled from the wreckage once the police, fire and rescue crews could pry the door open wide enough to safely reach her.
In the Kia, Ms. Parks’ leg was mangled. She and Northcutt were rushed to the hospital. Ms. Parks passed away later.
The lawsuit says Kia Motors and Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group “failed to discharge their duty to issue warnings prior to the sale of the vehicle.”
It says the defendants were aware that the product was defective or unreasonably dangerous before it was sold, and the corporation failed to take reasonable steps to warn potential buyers of the “defective or unreasonably dangerous condition of the vehicle.”
The lawsuit says the 2008 Kia Optima model is defective because it had an inadequate fault detection system that could not “anticipate foreseeable unwanted outcomes, including unintended acceleration.”
It also says that the electronic throttle control system and its components are highly susceptible to malfunction caused by various electronic failures, including faulty circuit boards, short circuits, software glitches and electromagnetic interference from sources outside the vehicle.
The lawsuit also says that the car model lacks a brake override system, meaning that the driver is unable to stop or slow the engine during a sudden unintended acceleration incident by stepping on the brakes.
It says the defendants could have easily implemented a brake override system years ago that would have prevented sudden unintended acceleration incidents, regardless of the cause.
The lawsuit says that from at least 2002, the defendants knew or should have known that the electronic throttle control systems should have included a brake override system.
“The defendants are strictly liable for the damages to the plaintiffs as a result of the design, manufacture and distribution of the subject defective 2008 Kia Optima,” the lawsuit says.
Kia says in its response that Kia Motors of America, based in California, “denies that the subject vehicle suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated out of control… KMA avers that when the subject vehicle was designed, manufactured and sold, it conformed with the state of scientific and technological knowledge available to its manufacturer.”

Kerikeri woman wins ruling against Toyota

Kerikeri woman wins ruling against Toyota

 June 22 2017

Kerikeri woman Carolyn Fox, at the site on Kerikeri Rd where she stopped her Toyota Blade after it accelerated unexpectedly.

Kerikeri woman Carolyn Fox, at the site on Kerikeri Rd where she stopped her Toyota Blade after it accelerated unexpectedly.
A Kerikeri woman had to put both feet on her brake pedal after her car accelerated to 100kmh by itself. 
Carolyn Fox was driving her 2007 Toyota Blade G Hatch - purchased from Northland Toyota in Whangarei - on July 2, 2016 on Kerikeri Rd to the Bay of Islands Airport when the vehicle accelerated unexpectedly from 60kmh to 100km.
After considering her options, she applied both feet to the brake pedal and pushed down as hard as she could.
Toyota disputes that there is a fault and maintains it was probably caused by an unsecured floor mat, but a disputes tribunal adjudicator has ruled in favour Fox.
The Motor Vehicles Disputes Tribunal decision resulted in Fox being awarded the purchase price of her car and part of the mechanical warranty after two instances of the car accelerating unexpectedly.
The adjudicator's report stated: "However although the nature of the fault remains unknown, having excluded driver error as the cause, I am satisfied that the unintended acceleration was caused by an undiagnosed fault with the vehicle."
Northland Toyota chief executive Bryce Woodward says Toyota NZ currently have the vehicle.
"We are confident it is fault free. It is not currently available for sale."
Despite the tribunal ruling that an undiagnosed fault was likely the cause of the unintended acceleration, Woodward says they stand by their conclusion that an unsecured floor mat in the driver side foot well was likely the cause. 
Fox said the vehicle travelled two kilometres from the initial "unintended acceleration". When the car came to a stop she put the vehicle into neutral before switching the engine off.
Fox restarted the car and continued through the Kerikeri Rd roundabout towards the airport. Upon exiting the roundabout the vehicle again accelerated unexpectedly, and she immediately put both feet on the brake and put the vehicle into neutral.
She then continued onto the airport, experiencing no further problems.
Fox returned the vehicle on August 3 2016, which Northland Toyota refused to accept. Before the tribunal hearing, Northland Toyota offered to refund the purchase price, which Fox declined.
"It's an independent legal ruling that there is something else wrong with the car, besides the possibility of driver error or the floor mat being the reason for the unintended acceleration," Fox says. 
"The reason why I risked losing the case, was to have the ability to speak publicly with the backing of the court's ruling, because Toyota were consistently minimising the cause of the unintended acceleration."
Fox says all drivers should be told to secure their floor mats and how to stop a car that's accelerating unexpectedly.
"Just put it into neutral, nothing else is going to safely stop the car."
 - Stuff

Toyota Auris
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Toyota Blade [edit]
The upscale sister of the Auris is called the Blade. It replaced the Toyota Allex, which, in turn, was the replacement for the
Toyota Sprinter. The Blade was sold at Japanese Toyota dealerships Toyota Store and Toyopet Store locations, while the Auris
was exclusive to Toyota Corolla Store and Toyota NETZ Store locations. It has different front and rear sheetmetal, and is powered
by Toyota's 2.4-litre 2AZ-FE engine. Recently Toyota released the Blade Master and Blade Master G, an upgraded trim of the
Blade which features Toyota's 280 PS (206 kW), 3.5-litre 2GR-FE V6 engine, larger brakes, and an upgraded suspension. Toyota
discontinued the Blade in April 2012 ahead of the replacement of the Auris, without a direct successor.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Lawsuit alleges 2011-2016 Toyota Sienna power sliding doors open while driving.

Posted in News

 — A Toyota Sienna power sliding door lawsuit alleges the 2011-2016 minivans have sliding doors that tend to open while driving because of problems with the motors, problems that caused Toyota to recall 834,000 Siennas in 2016.
The proposed class-action lawsuit alleges Toyota told its dealers “the sliding door motor circuit could be overloaded, opening the fuse for the motor. If this occurs when the door latch is in an unlatched position, the door could open while driving, increasing the risk of injury to a vehicle occupant.”
The plaintiffs say even after the automaker recalled the Sienna minivans, Toyota didn't know how to fix the problem other than telling consumers to disable the power sliding door feature.
Plaintiff Paula McMillin says she purchased her 2013 Toyota Sienna new in January 2013, and on November 22, 2016, Toyota sent Ms. McMillin a "Safety Recall Interim Notice" about the power siding door. Toyota indicated it was an "interim" notice because the automaker was working on a fix for the vans.
Then on December 19, 2016, Toyota sent McMillin an “Important Update” relating to the power sliding door recall. The notice said Toyota suggested that in order to avoid the problem, owners should disable the power sliding door system. McMillin has disconnected the power sliding door feature but is without a feature the van should have.
McMillin says if she would have known of the power sliding door problem, she would not have purchased the minivan, or she would have paid much less for it. In addition, had she known earlier about the defect, she would have attempted to have the defect repaired according to Toyota’s warranty.
Toyota has allegedly known about the door problems since before 2013 due to complaints from Sienna owners, consumers who talk about the danger of the sliding doors opening and the cost to fix the problem.
"While driving 25 mph, the driver side sliding door opened while the vehicle was in motion. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the sliding door motor failed and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired." - 2011 Toyota Sienna owner / Apollo, Pennsylvania
"...the two sliding van doors opening to the backseat are supposed to be automatic when you lightly pull the handle but 3/5 times it will stick mid way and sound out a loud alarm then refuse to shut automatically and require a huge amount of pushing and shoving to close it, just to try it all over again with fingers crossed that people will be able to exit the vehicle. Dealer refused to replace anything going wrong after 1 year. This van is so cheaply made its disgusting. Costs thousands to fix. About, avoid, avoid." - 2012 Toyota Sienna owner / Santa Ana, California
The 2011-2016 Sienna minivan sliding doors allegedly are so defective that Toyota made design changes for the 2017 model and fixed the problem, at least for consumers who own 2017 Siennas. The plaintiffs say the minivans are dangerous as occupants never know when the sliding doors may open while driving.
Although the minivans were eventually recalled in 2016, the lawsuit alleges Toyota waited to order the power sliding door recall in an attempt to allow the viable warranty claims of early buyers to lapse.
The Toyota Sienna power sliding door lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division - Dillen Steeby and Paula McMillin, et al., v. Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc.
The plaintiffs are represented by Williams Dirks Dameron LLC. has owner-reported complaints about Toyota Sienna minivans: