Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ford to repair Explorers over carbon monoxide issue.

The CBS Evening News (11/15, Story 9, 2:10, Mason, 11.17M) broadcast a video featuring CBS transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave and an interview with Steve Simmons, who was diagnosed with carbon dioxide poisoning after driving his Ford Explorer for sixteen days. Van Cleave said that Simmons “is one of nearly 1,300 people who have now filed complaints with the National Highway Traffic Administration about exhaust.” Van Cleave said Ford “has known about the problem since at least 2012 and recorded more than 2,000 additional complaints as of last August.” Van Cleave further states that “NHTSA has been investigating for over a year but says it’s found no evidence of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

        CBS News (11/15, 4.42M) reports that Ford is offering to make repairs on the Explorer “models from 2011 to 2017,” as “1.3 million owners of the popular SUV will begin receiving notices today.” CBS News states that “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating at least 1.3 million 2011-2017 Explorers based on reports of exhaust, which contains carbon monoxide, seeping into the passenger cabin.” NHTSA said that Ford’s actions do “not bring closure to the issue.” 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Carmakers struggle with hacking fears for self-driving cars.

The Detroit (MI) News (11/15, Laing, 725K) reports on the efforts of carmakers to mitigate concerns about hacking as they develop self-driving cars. The News reports that cars without self-driving features have been proven to be vulnerable to hacks, and researchers at the University of Michigan, University of Washington, Stony Brook University, and University of California, Berkeley have demonstrated that it is possible to trick the lidar sensors of self-driving cars. The piece points out that automakers created the Automotive Information Sharing and Analysis Center “that allows car manufacturers to confidentially share information about potential cyberattacks.” 

Monday, November 6, 2017

BMW to recall more than one million vehicles due to fire risk.

The AP (11/3) reported that “BMW is recalling more than 1 million cars and SUVs in two U.S. recalls due to the risk of fires under the hood, and it’s recommending that they be parked outdoors until repairs are made.” According to the AP, documents posted Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal “that a heater for the positive crankcase ventilation valve can overheat and cause the valve to melt, increasing the risk of a fire even when the vehicle is not in use,” although there have been no injuries reported so far. The New York Times (11/4, Caron, Subscription Publication, 13.56M) reported a BMW spokesman insisted the risk of fire is “extremely rare.” 

Monday, October 30, 2017

NHTSA opens investigation into Ford vehicles whose steering wheels may fall off.

The AP (10/27) reports NHTSA has opened an investigation into Ford over “complaints that steering wheels can come loose or fall off in the Ford Fusion.” The story says NHTSA received at least three complaints about the potential defect, and its “probe revealed in documents posted Friday covers about 841,000 midsize sedans from the 2014 through 2016 model years.”
        Reuters (10/27, Shepardson) reports that similar problems have been identified before, with General Motors having recalled 2,100 Chevrolet Cruze vehicles in 2011 due to issues with steering wheels coming off.

        Also reporting on the recall are ABC News (10/27, Cook, 2.83M), Fox Business (10/27, Spector, 741K), the Car Connection (10/27, Ganz, 118K), Roadshow (10/27, 2.35M), Consumerist (10/27, Kieler, 60K), and Law360 (10/27, 16K). 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ford recalls 1.3 million F-Series trucks.

NBC Nightly News (10/18, story 11, 0:20, Holt, 16.61M) reported on its nightly broadcast that Ford has issued a recall for more than one million F-Series trucks, including model year 2015 through 2017 F-150s and 2017 super-duty trucks, because their doors may not be able to open or close and may appear to be closed despite not being latched. Reuters (10/18) reports the recall covers 1.34 million vehicles and is expected to cost the company $267 million. Reuters reports the current recall is a separate issue from the 5 million vehicles Ford recalled in 2016 due to door latch-related problems. Ford said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by the defect.

        The Detroit (MI) Free Press (10/18, 1.07M) quotes a press release from Ford explaining the problem, “In affected vehicles, a frozen door latch or a bent or kinked actuation cable may result in a door that will not open or will not close condition. Should a customer be able to open and close the door with these conditions, the door may appear closed, but the latch may not fully engage the door striker with the potential that the door could open while driving, increasing the risk of injury.” 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Center for Auto Safety calls on Ford to recall Explorers.

ABC World News Tonight (10/17, story 11, 0:15, Muir, 14.63M) reported that the Center for Auto Safety is calling on Ford to recall more than a million Explorers due to possible carbon monoxide exhaust leaks. Explorers belonging to police departments already have been taken off the road. However, Ford suggests that the civilian models of the vehicle are safe.
        The CBS Evening News (10/17, story 7, 2:10, Mason, 11.17M) reported that instead of recalling the vehicles, Ford has offered a “peace of mind” safety repair. CBS added that since last summer, the NHTSA has been investigating more than 2,700 complaints about exhaust leaking into the cabins of Explorers. The complaints include claims of three accidents and 41 injuries. While NHTSA says it has found no actual evidence of carbon monoxide poisoning, one Louisiana police officer said doctors diagnosed her with carbon monoxide poisoning after she crashed her Explorer.

        NBC Nightly News (10/17, story 12, 1:55, Holt, 16.61M) reported that Executive Director for the Center for Auto Safety Jason Levine warned, “What we don’t want to do is to wait for a body count before we start taking action.” 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

GM reports test fleet of robot cars was in six minor crashes last month.

Reuters (10/4) reports that General Motors’ self-driving unit, Cruise Automation, “has more than doubled the size of its test fleet of robot cars in California during the past three months.” However, as the test fleet has grown, it has also reported more crashes. In September, GM’s robot cars were involved in six minor crashes in California. Rebecca Mark, spokeswoman for GM Cruise, said, “All our incidents this year were caused by the other vehicle.” None of the accidents resulted in injuries or serious damage. In a statement, GM said, “While we look forward to the day when autonomous vehicles are commonplace, the streets we drive on today are not so simple, and we will continue to learn how humans drive and improve