GM recalls 522,000 Malibus, pickups

gm trucks recalledGeneral Motors is making sure that they don’t let potential safety hazards get out of hand, especially in the wake of the safety crisis from 2014. Therefore, expect the organization to play it ‘better safe than sorry’ when it comes to the safety of drivers in the U.S. and other countries.

GM has issued a recall notice for about 469,000 Chevrolet Malibus with the model year 2011 and 2012 due to a weakened steel cable connected to seat belts that could break – the largest for GM so far this year. A majority of those cars were sold in the United States, while others are currently in Canada, Mexico and other nearby territories such as Cuba.

The cable has been known to wear down and separate over time due to passengers making a number of seat adjustments. So far, there have been 36 claims and one minor injury linked to the defect and, luckily, no major accidents or fatalities due to the defect.

Malibu owners have been informed that they can bring their cars to Chevrolet dealerships for a safety inspection and replacement work if it is necessary – both will be of no cost to the owner.

Another notice has also been issued for almost 53,000 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups with the model year 2015 for safety issues with the seats and covers vehicles in both the U.S. and Canada – there is a portion of about 13,000 of the recalled pickups currently sitting on dealership lots.

As of now, there have not been any accidents or injuries related to the attachment hooks – which means that GM is hoping to remain proactive and not wait until there are any statistics because if those parts are not properly connected, the front of the seat may not remain secured if a crash does occur.

Dealers will complete inspections to see whether the seat frame attachment hooks of the trucks currently sitting in lots, need repair before being made available to the public.

It’s been a busy past few years for GM of as they had a record number of 27 million total vehicles recalled – many of them due to defective ignition switches that have been linked to about 100 deaths on the road.


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Tesla receives ‘ok’ for direct sales in Maryland, also makes progress in China

It has been a busy week for Tesla Motors as the American company not only looks to improve sales in their home country, but also improve their standing in international markets.

The state of Maryland is the latest in the United States to allow Tesla Motors to sell cars through retail locations there after a bill was signed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to erase criminal record, as long as Tesla deals in electric or non-fossil fuel burning vehicles, according to a report from Forbes. A separate story from the Wall Street Journal reports, as of last week, that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sent a letter to a state senator in Michigan to include a provision in an upcoming bill that would simulate what other states have done to allow Tesla to make direct sales there as well.

tesla motors auto dealer

The sales will be limited to four locations due to a cap placed by Maryland that is similar to what other states like Pennsylvania and Ohio have done through similar bills. Tesla’s vehicle offerings are currently meeting those required standards set in Maryland and other states that are allowing direct sales.

The victory in Maryland – as well as a recent overturn of a ban in New Jersey – is another for Tesla Motors, which has won the individual state-by-state battles to earn the right to sell directly, but there are still ongoing concerns by legislators in other states like Arizona, Michigan, Texas and West Virginia.

tesla autosOutside of the U.S., Tesla is making updates to their electric cars that will meet charging standards in China. Buyers in the Chinese market had previously had concerns as Tesla had incompatibility in the country’s charging infrastructure that is also being modified national standard for charging stations across the country – although there’s no specific timetable for when it will be complete.

A report from the Wall Street Journal also notes data from the research firm JL Warren Capital says that less than 2,500 cars from Tesla Motors were registered in China during a nine-month span starting in April 2014. Tesla officials will consider sales reaching or surpassing the mark of 5,000 vehicles in 2014 will be a success for the company as they hope to continue deliveries in China.

Ford unveils new Mustang packages, a return to their roots

ford mustang carIt looks like the latest addition of the Ford Mustang will bring some classic charisma in addition to some newer packages and options for potential buyers (check out your nearest new and used Mazdas in Winnipeg to see if they have any in stock). And sometimes, going back to what has worked in the past can be the most exciting proposition to fans of a classic vehicle.

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the 2016 Mustang – which marks the second model year of the current edition since Ford introduced the car’s sixth incarnation for 2015 – will include two new packages this fall including a California Package and a Pony Package that feature two trim levels that pay homage to the classic look of the 1960s.

The Pony Package offers provides an upgrade with 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, a tri-bar logo that shows the classic Mustang logo on the grille, side stripes and a chrome window surround. The California Package offers drivers more features that include an aluminum dashboard finish, hood vents, ebony painted aluminum wheels and other touches.

For the newest version of the Mustang GT fastback, there will be a new Black Accent Package that provides specially painted black alloy wheels, a black deck-lid spoiler, dark trim and pony logos in black – which means this Mustang is “back in black.”

ford mustange concept car

Among the design options available for Ford fans include new wheels and a choice between white and silver racing stripes directly from the factory as part of allowing improved customization for each Mustang. Long-time enthusiasts of the classic car will also have a chance to see the return of hood vent-integrated turn signals that was standard on the Mustang GT model from 1994 to 2004.

Buyers of the new Mustang GT convertible, which has a manual transmission installed, can order a performance package for 2016 as well – includes a tuned chassis, revised suspension and other additional upgrades.

This could continue the excitement that some Mustang fans have expressed since Ford began to return to its roots, in a way, with the unveiling of the Mustang’s latest generation in December 2013 that brought back much of the classic touch but added improved quality and safety to earn five-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

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Humans at fault in self-driving car accidents

It seems that there is still a risk of human error when it comes to the potential release of self-driving vehicles – just not from the pilots of the developing pilot programs.

self driving vehicleSince September, the state of California has issued permits to various automotive companies which allows almost 50 self-driving cars to be road-tested. Four have been involved with accidents due to human error caused by other drivers being inattentive, according to a news report by the Los Angeles Times.

One of the accidents entailed a smart car waiting to make a left turn at a stoplight before it was hit by another vehicle that crossed a median and struck the smart car in October. Regardless, representatives of these self-driving car producers is aiming to create vehicles that improve safety on the road but the accidents, even though they are reportedly not caused by the self-driving machines themselves, is not good PR at the moment.

The project was first started by Google about six years ago, the company reports that there have been 11 minor incidents through a combination of nearly two millions driving done by the car itself and the driver – none of them are reportedly caused by the self-driving vehicles.

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The hope is that these numbers remain low if these self-driving vehicles are allowed to gain a full release to the public. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were more than 32,000 fatalities due to accidents over the course of three million total miles in the United States – which makes the accident numbers mentioned earlier seem much more likeable.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is making a push for the release of current and future records that relate to any and all accidents involving the self-driving vehicles. Maybe the project is leading to a possible solution to reducing traffic fatalities to a net zero goal that is the goal of several states, but the real concern regarding traffic deaths seems to go back to drivers not paying complete attention to the traffic patterns and roads ahead of them.

Nissan, Jeep earn top marks in IIHS test

The Nissan Murano received the coveted “top safety” honor – the second this year for Nissan – during the most recent round of small-overlap front crash testing hosted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), while the Jeep Wrangler (4-door) and the Ford Flex also received higher marks during their testing sessions as well.

vehicle safetyRatings are given in several categories that fall under four grades – good (green), acceptable (blue), marginal (yellow) and poor (red).

According to a report from Automotive News, the Murano scored “good” in all of the categories for the overall green grade – structure, restraints and kinematics and all dummy injury measures (head and neck, chest, hip and thigh and the lower leg and feet). Added with other IIHS measures, the Murano has earned a “Top Rating Pick+” rating, which is the highest the institute awards.

The Jeep Wrangler finished second overall with “good” for all categories except for restraints and kinematics – this includes the effectiveness of seatbelts for the driver and passengers – where they received an “acceptable” rating. But because of other substandard test results, the Wrangler did not receive the “top safety” honors that the Murano received, which requires “good” or “acceptable” ratings in all five crash-test scenarios through the IIHS.

The Ford Flex also received green for all dummy injury measures while receiving a blue mark for restraints and kinematics and a yellow for structure that gave the Ford an overall “acceptable” grade that were good enough to yield a Top Safety Pick, but without the “plus” designation that the Murano earned.

Four cars were unable to earn acceptable ratings, including the Dodge Journey that receives the lone overall red mark with poorly rated structure and only marginal marks for restraints and injury measures for hip and thigh and the lower legs and feet – at least your head, neck and chest will be fine though in this vehicle.

The Murano and Flex join a short list of midsize sports utility vehicles (SUVs) that have qualified for the “top safety” rating certified by the IIHS. The other include the Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Kia Sorento, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander.