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Airbag recall widens to include BMW, Chrysler, Ford and Toyota

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 15:45:00 EST

The recall of faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata has exploded today to grow to seven automakers. In most cases, only models in certain high-humidity regions were affected because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in its investigation that moisture played a roll in determining whether there would be a problem. However, some companies opted for national campaigns. The exact number of affected models for these campaigns isn't yet known at this time.
BMW is recalling an undisclosed number of 325i, 325Xi, 330i and 330Xi models from the 2001 through 2005 model years and the 2001-2006 model year versions of the 325Ci and 330Ci for the driver side and passenger side inflators. Only vehicles currently registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands are covered under this recall.
Neither Chrysler's filing with NHTSA nor its press release list the specific models affected, but a company spokesperson told Autoblog that at this time it only covers the driver and passenger side inflators for the 2006 Dodge Charger in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands

Honda, Nissan and Mazda recalling 3 million vehicles for airbag inflators

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 09:35:00 EST

Three million more vehicles can be added to the worldwide tally to be repaired for the faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata. Honda, Nissan, and Mazda have all issued recalls to replace the bad part, including about 1.2 million of them in North America. NHTSA has been investigating all three companies, plus Chrysler and Toyota, for potentially affected vehicles.
Honda is recalling roughly 1.02 million Civic, CR-V, Odyssey and Element models In North America, built between April 2000 and October 2002. Mazda needs to repair 14,794 units of the RX-8 and Mazda6, and Nissan has 228,000 vehicles in North America to be fixed.
Chrysler is also starting what it calls a "regional field action" to replace the inflators in the 2006 Dodge Charger, according to a company spokesperson. The company says that it has not yet found the problem in any of its vehicles, but it's being done "out of an abundance of caution." The final number of Chargers affected will be announced later this week.

44 Miatas engaged to spell happiness from above

Mon, 16 Jun 2014 18:58:00 EST

We've seen all manner of ways to propose marriage, from the usual candlelit dinner to the Jumbotron at the big game. A friend of ours recently proposed with his a barbershop quartet singing backup. But this has to be a new one - and one that automotive enthusiasts would probably find even more touching than a sky-writing biplane.
A member of the Miata.net forum recently asked other MX-5 enthusiasts to help him pop the big question to his bride-to-be. He got 31 Miatas together and needed just four more, but after appealing to his fellow roadster fans, over 40 turned up in the parking lot at the local high school.
The groom-to-be runs an aerial photography business and used an unmanned drone which his girlfriend thought would be shooting some local real estate properties when it flew over the parking lot and captured the image you see above with 44 little roadsters spelling out "Marry Me?" The answer, in case you were wondering, was a resounding "Yes!" How could she not, after all, when those Mazda convertibles are just so darn adorable? Now they'll just need to figure out what they'll be driving to the chapel on the big day.

Honda may recall up to 1M vehicles for airbag issue, following Toyota's lead

Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:30:00 EST

It seems Toyota won't be the only one recalling the faulty Takata airbag inflators for long. Honda insiders in Japan claim that the company is getting close to announcing its own worldwide campaign that would begin before the end of June.
Unnamed sources close to Honda in Japan tell Automotive News that the company is pursuing an internal investigation into possibly affected models and is working with Takata to gather more information. They claim that it could involve even more than the 1.14 million cars worldwide that the automaker covered under the first recall for the problem in April 2013, including 561,000 vehicles in the US.
Toyota jumpstarted this process last week when it recalled over 2 million cars worldwide, including 844,277 in the US. Soon after, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began a preliminary evaluation into the issue following six reported incidents, and started assembling data about potentially affected models from Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Chrysler. NHTSA also began investigating Takata itself.

Five automakers now being investigated by NHTSA for airbag woes

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 14:00:00 EST

It appears that Toyota's renotification to owners of recalled vehicles from last year is just the tip of the iceberg for what could potentially be a much larger industry-wide recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a preliminary evaluation investigation into roughly 1.1 million vehicles from Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota and parts supplier Takata regarding faulty airbag inflators in several models.
NHTSA has received six reports - three directly, two from Takata and one from Toyota - of vehicles with ruptured airbag inflators from 2002-2006, which resulted in three injuries. So far, all six incidents have occurred in high humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico. According to Toyota's latest recall announcement, the inflators may have an improper propellant that could cause it to rupture in a crash and the bag to deploy abnormally.
This new investigation follows a previous recall from April 2013 of about 3.4 million vehicles worldwide for the airbag inflators from Takata. As Autoblog reported, Toyota jumpstarted the new situation when it found that the original list of serial numbers for the faulty part was incomplete and discovered more cars in need of replacement. Honda and Nissan told us that they were investigating whether further models would need called in again as well. Mazda told Autoblog: "Regarding the current Takata situation, we're working closely with NHTSA and investigating the situation, but nothing else to report at this time." Chrysler Group responded to us with the statement: "Chrysler Group engineers are conducting the appropriate analysis. The Company will cooperate fully with the National Highway Traffic Administration."

Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more collaborating to increase fuel efficiency

Sun, 25 May 2014 16:31:00 EST

Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Daihatsu have announced an alliance that will see a push to improve fuel economy from both gas-powered and diesel-powered engines by as much as 30 percent before the end of the decade.
The newly assembled Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines put the roughly $20-million project together, with the Japanese government committing to half the cost while the eight manufacturers will chip in the rest.
According to Automotive News, the automakers will team up and share basic research on internal-combustion engines in a bid to cut costs. Eventually, the results of the research will find its way into a production vehicle, although it's unclear just when we'll see the fruits of this partnership on the road.

25th Anniversary Edition Mazda MX-5 Miata sells out in 10 minutes

Wed, 21 May 2014 08:45:00 EST

Looking to buy one of the limited-edition 25th Anniversary Mazda MX-5 Miata roadsters? Well, you're too late. According to Mazda, all 100 examples of the darling two-seater have sold out - and it only took 10 minutes.
On Tuesday, Mazda opened its pre-order site for the limited-run Miata, and had intended to keep the site running until May 31, or until 250 customers were registered, whichever came first. Just 10 minutes later, 250 people had signed up. Now, Mazda will contact those folks, and the first 100 that are verified will be given the opportunity to pre-order the unique MX-5. "Upon verification of purchase intent and transmission selection, the customer's information will then be forwarded to the dealership of their choosing to finalize the transaction," Mazda said in a press release.
The 2015 MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition models will arrive at dealers this summer, retailing for $32,205 with the six-speed manual, or $32,655 for those desiring the automatic transmission. Based on the PRHT (Power Retractable Hard Top) model, the limited-edition Miata adds Bilstein shocks, a Soul Red metallic paint job (the same found on the gorgeous Mazda6) with a contrasting black roof, gunmetal wheels and an off-white leather interior. Special badging will be found inside the car, and buyers will also be treated to a custom-crafted Tourneau watch and a display winder box.

Huet Brothers working on new Miata-based retro coupe

Wed, 14 May 2014 19:15:00 EST

Does the name Huet ring a bell? The Dutch brothers started out doing classic car tours in Europe before they started designed and building their own retro sports cars. The first was called the Huet Brothers Special. It was based on an old Triumph TR6 and surfaced back in 2009. But a few years later they started showing designs for a new coupe that called for a straight-six engine under a long bonnet with a fastback roofline, and started taking orders. Over the past two and a half years we didn't see anything materialize out of the Huet Brothers' plans, but word out of the Netherlands has it that the design is back on the table.
According to the Autovisie section of Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Tino and Paul Huet were planning on building their coupe on the base of the MX-5 Miata. But now that Mazda is preparing to launch an all-new model, the Huets have decided to wait until next year and build their dream car on the new Skyactiv roadster chassis.
Rather than trying to shoehorn in a bigger engine (or the subsequent diesel model that was set to follow), the Huets are reportedly prepared to stick with Mazda's four-pot, offering it in stock form and various states of upgraded tune.

China's FAW now building all three Mazda6 generations

Tue, 13 May 2014 14:15:00 EST

The Chinese auto market is one of the most interesting in the world to look at. Its automakers appear to still be figuring things out and remain open to experimentation. For example, at this moment, you can buy new copies of all three generations of the Mazda6 from showrooms there.
Mazda joint-venture partner FAW recently introduced the latest generation to China as the Mazda6 Atenza, according to Just Auto. Yet buyers still have the option of getting the previous generation as well, which is sold as the Mazda6 Ruiyi. Obviously, that isn't too remarkable - companies in the US have briefly sold two generations of the same nameplate simultaneously for brief points in the past, and the practice is much more common in developing markets. However, Chinese consumers still have the third choice, too - the first-generation model that dates back to the early 2000s, is still on offer, known simply as Mazda6.
While it would be hard to imagine selling three generations of the same models at once in the US, the idea is an interesting one. We enjoyed our long-term test of the latest generation, and the previous models weren't bad cars either, so provided there's a healthy difference in pricing and marketplace confusion is limited by differing names, we can see it working. If nothing else, it's a fascinating illustration of how broad China's developing auto market really is.

Takashi Yamanouchi to retire as Mazda chairman

Mon, 12 May 2014 11:02:00 EST

Takashi Yamanouchi has been with Mazda for a long time. He signed on with the Japanese automaker in April 1967 - one month after graduating from Keio University - and rose through the ranks over the years. By 1996 he was named to the company's board of directors. In 2008 he was named president and CEO, an office he held until 2013, after which he handed over the day-to-day reins to Masamichi Kogai and took up the seat at the head of the board room to serve as the company's chairman. But now, after 47 years working for Mazda, Yamanouchi-san is retiring at the age of 69.
During his tenure as CEO and then as chairman, Yamanouchi was credited with growing Mazda's business despite unfavorable fluctuations in exchange rates, opening the company's first plant in Mexico, and spearheading the development of Mazda's Skyactiv technologies and Kodo design language.
In his place, current vice chairman Seita Kanai will take over as chairman. The changing of the guard will take place after the annual shareholders' meeting on June 24.