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American Honda Motor Co Inc. has launched a new, consumer-oriented website dedicated to providing Honda owners with the information they need to make informed decisions regarding collision repair. See the site at collision.honda.com.

The site is divided into two main sections. Section one, entitled “Accident Assistant,” covers what to do at the scene of an accident and includes a handy “Accident Checklist” that can be downloaded. Section two, entitled “Collision 101,” includes important information about repairs, collision parts and insurance. Also included is a glossary of collision-repair terms and Honda collision-repair position statements.

Two videos are included on the site — one regarding wheel replacement, and a dramatic look at air bags and the importance of their proper deployment. The site also hosts Honda’s body shop locator system containing shops presently on American Honda’s Body Shop Recognition program.

Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:04

VW to take full control of Porsche

Volkswagen Group's decision to take full control of Porsche Automobil Holding SE's automaking business is seen as positive by analysts and ends a long struggle for control between the two automakers.

VW said it has agreed to buy the remaining 50.1 percent of Porsche SE's automotive business that it doesn't already own for 4.46 billion euros ($5.6 billion), ending a seven-year takeover saga that divided two of Germany's most powerful families.

The agreement means Volkswagen can now fully fold the Porsche automaking business into its stable of brands, which includes  Audi and Bentley.

It leaves Porsche SE, which is controlled by the Piech-Porsche family still owning 50.7 percent of VW's common stock.

"To have the Porsche clan as owners and the anchor shareholder is good for Volkswagen and for Germany," said Christoph Stuermer, an IHS Automotive analyst in Frankfurt. "This has changed the cultural heart of the company. Volkswagen has become substantially stronger and long-term oriented."

Chrysler Group LLC has reported U.S. sales of 144,811 units, a 20 percent increase compared with sales in June 2011 (120,394 units), and the group’s best June sales since 2007.

The Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram Truck, and FIAT brands each posted sales increases in June compared with the same month a year ago. Chrysler Group recorded its 27th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains in June. Chrysler Group’s second-quarter sales were up 24 percent versus the same period last year.

Honda has widened its biggest recall to fix flaws related to airbags in models including the Civic and Accord produced as long as ten years ago. Previously the company announced it was calling back 304,000 vehicles made in 2001 and 2002, including the Accord, Civic, Odyssey and CR-V. The recall now covers an additional 917,267 vehicles worldwide, said spokesman Keitaro Yamamoto. That brings the total to more than 2.77 million, the company's biggest recall for an individual flaw. More than 90 percent of the affected vehicles are in the United States.

Honda has also determined that approximately 640 affected driver’s airbag service parts were sold and installed in vehicles that needed these parts replaced from collision repairs. The automaker will inspect approximately 603,000 vehicles because they cannot determine which vehicles these service parts were installed in. Honda will replace the parts in the affected vehicles following the inspection. This recall now includes certain 2001 and 2002 Accord, 2001 to 2003 Civic, 2001 to 2003 Odyssey, 2002 and 2003 CR-V, 2003 Pilot, 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL vehicles.

"Affected driver's airbag inflators may deploy with too much pressure, which can cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury or fatality," the company said in a statement.

Magna International Inc. announced Dec 1 that its Magna Electronics operating unit, in conjunction with Mobileye, its partner for image processing, has developed an innovative driver assistance system that uses a single, forward-looking video camera to provide safety and convenience features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings. More affordable than comparable systems, the Magna system has recently launched on General Motors vehicles in the North American market, available as an option on the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain.

Nissan has announced that it has sold 20,000 units of its electric car LEAF worldwide and is on track to sell 10,000 units in the United States by the end of this year. Of the total number, about 60% were sold in the US. This compares to about 5,000 copies of the Chevy Volt.

Nissan also began sales of its new quick charger in Japan. The new charging system is nearly half the size and price than the current version. The base variant has been priced at $7,689, inclusive of taxes. Moreover, customers can apply through a government incentive system for charging units to be reimbursed for approximately half the cost (without tax) of a unit, bringing down the actual cost of the unit to $4092. Complying with the CHAdeMO protocol, the new unit is not only compatible with Nissan EVs, but also with EVs manufactured by other carmakers such as Mitsubishi, PSA and Fiat.
In another development, Nissan also introduced a hybrid drive system developed in-house consisting of a 2.5L 4 cylinder engine with a compact lithium-ion battery pack to replace the existing 3.5L V6 engine. The system also has a twin-screw supercharger on top. The automaker claims that the new engine will deliver the same power as the 3.5L V6 of about 260 hp and 250 pound-feet of torque. The vehicle is expected to deliver a fuel economy improvement of up to 10% when it gets installed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Nissan has announced that the new Altima due to arrive in 2013 in North America will be powered with this supercharged 2.5L engine.
Thursday, 01 December 2011 20:18

GM to Buy Volts Back if Requested

GM has announced that it will buy back any Volt from a dissatisfied customer, according to an interview in the Associated Press. CEO Dan Akerson insisted Dec. 1 that the cars are safe, but said the company will repurchase the Volts because it wants to keep customers happy. Three fires have broken out in Volts after side-impact crash tests done by the federal government.

Akerson said that if necessary, GM will recall the more than 6,000 Volts now on the road in the U.S. and repair them once the company and federal safety regulators figure out what caused the fires.

The company also may redesign the battery for its Volt to address issues raised after federal officials opened a safety probe into the plug-in electric car, CEO Dan Akerson said.

"We want to assure the safety of our customers, of our buyers, and so we're just going to take a time out, if you will, in terms of redesigning the battery possibly," Akerson told Reuters in a separate interview.

GM said it would offer loaner vehicles to about 5,500 Volt owners as it works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on ways to reduce the risk of battery fires breaking out days after crashes involving the car.

The steps came in response to a decision by NHTSA to open an investigation into the safety of the Volt's battery pack. A lithium-ion battery pack in a Volt that had been through a crash test in May caught fire three weeks later at a test facility in Wisconsin, according to NHTSA.

In lab tests completed last week by U.S. safety regulators, a second Volt pack began to smoke and throw off sparks while a third battery pack caught fire a week after a simulated crash.

Monday, 28 November 2011 18:41

GM to offer Free Loaners to Volt Owners

Automotive News has reported that General Motors said that it will provide free loaner vehicles to Chevrolet Volt owners to offer "peace of mind" as federal safety regulators investigate fires that have occurred in the plug-in hybrid's battery pack after crash testing.

In a conference call with the media, General Motors executives tried to tamp down growing concerns over the Volt's safety after officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday opened a formal investigation into the risk of fire in Volts that have been involved in severe crashes.

"I believe in the safety of the Volt," said Mark Reuss, GM president of North America. "Our customers' peace of mind is the most important thing. This technology should inspire confidence and pride, not raise any concern or doubt."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it will be opening a formal defect investigation into the risk of fire in Chevy Volts following a serious crash after the agency was able to reproduce the events that led to the initial Volt fire, and had a second car ignite last week.

This past May, NHTSA crashed a Chevy Volt. During that test, the vehicle's battery was damaged and the coolant line was ruptured. When a fire involving the test vehicle occurred more than three weeks after it was crashed, the agency concluded that the damage to the vehicle's lithium-ion battery during the crash test led to the fire.

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