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Auto blogWed, 12 Feb 2014 13:31:00 EST
For the first time since 1998, J.D. Power and Associates says its data shows that the average number of problems per 100 cars has increased. The finding is the result of the firm's much-touted annual Vehicle Dependability Study, which charts incidents of problems in new vehicle purchases over three years from 41,000 respondents.
Looking at first-owner cars from the 2011 model year, the study found an average of 133 problems per 100 cars (PP100, for short), up 6 percent from 126 PP100 in last year's study, which covered 2010 model-year vehicles. Disturbingly, the bulk of the increase is being attributed to engine and transmission problems, with a 6 PP100 boost.
Interestingly, JDP notes that "the decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with four-cylinder engines, where problem levels increase by nearly 10 PP100." Its findings also noticed that large diesel engines also tended to be more problematic than most five- and six-cylinder engines.
The redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade is still quite fresh on the market, but the luxury brand has a host of mid-model-year updates for its massive luxury SUV that should make it an even better driver. The range-topping Platinum Collection (pictured above) is also all set to ensconce drivers in leather when it hits the road in the fourth quarter of 2014.
The entire Escalade range now gets an eight-speed automatic to replace the previous six-speed, and four-wheel drive models also get a two-speed transfer case to go along with it. New standard features include a Surround View camera system, 4G LTE connectivity, and the electric tailgate also now closes hands-free, in addition to opening that way.
To make riding in the Escalade an even more luxurious experience, Cadillac is adding a Platinum trim. Exterior changes add even more shine to the behemoth SUV with a grille wearing the redesigned brand crest, additional chrome trim, 22-inch wheels and Platinum badges. However, the interior is where things really get plush. The first and second row of seats are wrapped in Nappa, semi-aniline leather in a choice of either beige or gray. The dashboard, upper door panels and center console also get hand-stitched and wrapped leather, plus a suede microfiber headliner. Both front seats are heated and cooled with 18-way power adjustments, and the driver even gets a massaging function. Rear passengers are hardly left out, either, with 7-inch LCD screens in the headrests and a 9-inch screen in the center.
General Motors has another spate of recalls to announce. This time they cover 312,280 vehicles worldwide, including 269,041 of in the US, in a total of six campaigns. In 2014, the automaker has recalled 29,079,765 vehicles worldwide, with 25,754,356 of those in the US.
The largest among them covers 215,243 units of the Saturn Vue from 2002-2004 model years worldwide, 202,115 in the US. It's possible for the for the key to be removed even when the ignition isn't in the OFF position. The company knows of two crashes and one injury caused by this problem. Dealers are checking the parts and replacing the ignition cylinder and key set, if necessary.
Next is 72,826 models worldwide (48,059 vehicles in the US) of the 2013 Cadillac ATS four-door sedan, 2013 Buick Encore and 2013 Chevy Trax in Canada. It's possible that the for lap belt pretensioner to retract but not to lock, which could increase occupant movement during a crash. Both front, outboard lap belt pretensioners are being replaced, and a stop-sale is in effect on unsold models until the problem is repaired. There are no known crashes or injuries, though.