Wednesday, September 21, 2011

800,000 Vehicles Recalled for Safety Defects Last Week

Automakers, including Hyundai Motor Co. and Subaru recalled more than 800,000 cars and trucks last week for defects including faulty airbags, according to federal regulators.

Separately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a preliminary defect investigation into 205,661 Ford Motor Co. minivans for the model years 2004 to 2005 following complaints that the service jack provided by Ford could collapse when in use and cause the vehicle to drop.

One of those reports said a person died after the Ford jack collapsed while he was working beneath the vehicle, according to a notice posted on NHTSA’s website.

The agency said it is investigating the issue to determine if a safety defect exists. NHTSA also upgraded two other probes into 431,000 Honda Motor Co. CR-V crossovers and 200,000 Jeep Liberty sport-utility vehicles built by Chrysler Group LLC.

Last week, Hyundai recalled more than 205,000 Veracruz and Sante Fe crossovers for model years 2007 and 2008 due to a defect in a part of the driver’s side airbag called the clock spring. The spring develops a high resistance over time and may not deploy in a crash, increasing the risk of injuries.

Subaru issued three separate recalls last week, including more than 295,000 vehicles for the model years 2002 to 2007 because a component in the front control arms can break if exposed to salty or humid environments.

The Japanese automaker also recalled more than 195,000 Outback and Legacy vehicles for model year 2010-2011 because components in the wiper motor could overheat and catch fire.

Subaru also recalled nearly 70,000 Outback and Legacy cars for the model year 2011 because the moonroof glass could come loose and detach.

Other automakers who issued large recalls last week were Hyundai affiliate Kia and Volkswagen AG .

Kia recalled more than 10,000 2007-2008 Sorento passenger cars because of a computer glitch that could turn off the front passenger airbag when an adult is in the passenger seat.

VW recalled more than 30,000 Jetta sedans for the model year 2011-2012 because some vehicles had a too-long stainless steel exhaust tip that could burn a person’s leg.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BP, Transocean, Halliburton to Blame for Catastrophic Gulf Oil Spill

Federal report on deepwater spill blames .

The Wall Street Journal (9/14, Gold, Subscription Publication) reports that a federal report into the cause of last year's Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf will be released Wednesday, and it blames BP, the crew of the drilling rig owned by Transocean, and the cementing process used by Halliburton, in addition to offering 50 recommendations for changes to offshore drilling.

BP scientist suggests company ignored critical information before spill. The AP (9/14) reports that according to documents and interviews, "A BP scientist identified a previously unreported deposit of flammable gas that could have played a role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but the oil giant failed to divulge the finding to government investigators for as long as a year." BP petro-physicist Galina Skripnikova revealed this information in a deposition with attorneys two months ago, saying that she did not relay the new information to drilling engineers on the Deepwater Horizon to warn them to hold off proceeding with the well ceiling process, and suggesting that she assumed the information would be passed up the corporate chain.