Articles Tagged with vehicle defects

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Generally, when you buy a car and are promised a feature—like air conditioning, satellite radio, or navigation—you expect that feature to continue to work/exist AFTER you take your car off the lot. Well, this expectation seems not to be shared by the people over at Mazda, as 2016 Mazda vehicle owners recently found out.

When consumers purchased a 2016 Mazda vehicle, real-time navigation software was one of the features of the vehicle they were buying (or at least that’s what they were led to believe). In early 2016, however, that very same software stopped functioning for all Mazda vehicles. Or, to hear 2016 Mazda owners tell it:

Wife and I picked up a 2016 CX-F about a month or so ago, I’ve noticed that the navigation is having a lot of problems keeping a lock on the car. I drove about 10 or 15 miles to my doctors office this morning and the whole time the nav was shoing me either 2 or 3 miles off the interstate or it was thinking I was on a different road completely. It did this the whole way there, even going on a long straight on the interstate it would suddenly jump me off the road and took minutes to lock back on. I checked the GPS information and it was showing 7 or 8 locked sats on me and at high accuracy. Continue reading

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In the two months since Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP filed a class action on behalf of consumers who own or lease vehicles with the defective and dangerous exploding Takata airbags, several new and troubling developments have emerged.

The Takata Cover-Up

In early November 2014, two former employees of Takata Corp. subsidiary TK Holdings, Inc. publicly announced in a New York Times exposé that TK Holdings, Inc. tested the defective airbags in 2004 after a Takata airbag exploded and shot shrapnel at a driver in Alabama.  According to those former employees, out of concern that the airbags may be defective, Takata, through subsidiary TK Holdings Inc., (collectively, “Takata”) tested 50 airbags over a period of three months at its Auburn Hills, Michigan facility.  During those tests, conducted on airbags retrieved from junk yards, the airbags’ steel inflater canisters cracked in two of the airbags.  According to the employees, one of whom was a senior lab technician at TK Holdings, Inc. at the time, this cracking could lead to rupture.

Per the statements of the former employees, lab technicians conducting the tests were troubled by the results and immediately began investigating a fix in anticipation of a recall of vehicles containing the defective airbags, and presumably, for airbags manufactured in the future.  However, when the testing results were reported to the decision-makers at the Takata subsidiary, the executives discounted the testing results, ordered the testing laboratory employees to delete all results of the testing from their computers and other files, and instructed them to throw away all of the tested airbags in the trash.  Takata, nor its subsidiaries, took any further action at that time.  The former employees tied this investigation and reported defect to the current recall. Continue reading

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has urged consumers to take immediate action to replace defective airbags in millions of BMW, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Suburu, and Toyota vehicles.  The model years of the affected vehicles range from 2000 to 2011 depending on manufacturer and model.  You can check to see if your vehicle is subject to the recall by entering your vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (“VIN”) on the NHTSA Web site.

The vehicles subject to the recall all contain airbags manufactured by Takata Corporation (“Takata”).  These airbags, which are meant to serve an important safety function, protecting you and your family in the event of an accident, can actually cause shrapnel-firing explosions when activated, potentially causing even greater injury than the accident alone, and possibly death.  This creates an extremely dangerous condition, as even in a minor accident, airbags can be deployed.  At least four deaths have been attributed to this defect.

The defect seems to manifest more frequently in hot, humid climates, so the NHTSA is urging consumers with affected vehicles in those regions to head to their dealers immediately.  Experts in the industry have speculated that the defect is attributable to ammonium nitrate, a chemical used to cause the airbags to deploy in milliseconds.  Takata is the only airbag manufacturer that uses this chemical.  Bloomberg reports that the use of this chemical could result in lighter, smaller airbags.  Unfortunately, this chemical is sensitive to moisture, and its addition leads to unstable ammonium nitrate, that when ignited on airbag deployment can cause the airbag and shrapnel to explode violently, causing injury or death to those in the vehicle.

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