Thursday, April 12, 2012

Insurance group says car design hinders use of child safety seats.

Insurance group says car design hinders use of child safety seats.

The Los Angeles Times (4/12, Hirsch) reports, "Child safety seats are difficult to properly install in cars, according to an insurance industry research group, because of the design of most passenger seats. Joint research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that just 21 of 98 top-selling 2010 and 2011 model year vehicles have seat designs that are easy to use with child restraints. The low percentage was notable, considering that the auto industry is using a system called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children -- or Latch -- that was intended to make it easier to install the safety seats." The insurance group's report says that car designers have paid insufficient attention to the Latch system's workings.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chrysler Recalls 2012 Jeep Compass and Patriot Vehicles for Fuel Tank Problems

Chrysler recalls 2012 Jeep Compass and Patriot vehicles.

The Chicago Tribune (4/10) reports, "Chrysler is recalling 1,689 model-year 2012 versions of the Jeep Compass and Patriot compact crossovers due to problems with their fuel tanks, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration."

Ford Recalls Focus

Fearing potential motor failure, Ford recalls 140,000 Focus models.

Christopher Jensen writes in the New York Times (4/10) "Wheels" blog, "Ford is recalling about 140,000 Focus models from the 2012 model year because the windshield wiper on the passenger side could fail." Jensen adds, "According to a summary posted over the weekend on the Web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Ford said a plug on an electrical connector intended to keep water from entering the motor might not have been installed. If water were to enter the motor, it could fail."

NHTSA ending investigation of Ford vans. Meanwhile, in related coverage, the Detroit News (4/10, Shepardson) reports, "NHTSA said it was ending a 27-month investigation into the 1997-2008 E350 and E450 Ford Cab/Chassis vans and other vehicles without demanding a recall after the agency did not identify a safety defect trend." The NHTSA said that the "Dearborn automaker has agreed to take two actions to reduce the likelihood of a fire," after the agency received "1,036 complaints, claims and field reports of failed blower motor control switches." However, "Ford said the vehicles -- some used as airport shuttles, school buses, ambulances or in public transit -- have run an estimated 128 billion miles, and argued that they have performed extremely well."