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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The National Highway Traffic safety Administration (NHTSA) announced today that automakers filed more than 650 recall campaigns in 2012, affecting over 17.8 million vehicles, vehicle equipment and child-safety seats.
It’s called “Super Cruise” and is essentially a semi-autonomous technology that enables a vehicle to incorporate fully automatic steering, braking and lane centering under certain driving conditions. Furthermore, Cadillac says this technology could be ready for production by mid-decade.
Some of the fundamentals of this Super Cruise technology can already be found in existing Cadillac models, notably the 2013 XTS and ATS, as part of the Driver Assist Package. Notable features within this umbrella include adaptive cruise control at all speed ranges, lane departure warning, intelligent brake assist, automatic rear braking, automatic collision preparation and rear vision camera with dynamic guidelines.
In today’s safety conscious world, having a vehicle earn “Top Pick” status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a big deal for many automakers, especially when it’s not just one car, but the entire brand’s lineup.
Buick has already been awarded IIHS top safety picks for its LaCrosse and Regal sedans, plus the Enclave crossover and now the Verano compact sedan, which was recently bestowed with the same award. That means each model in the current 2012 Buick lineup has been awarded Top Pick status, with the exceptions of the Encore compact crossover, since it hasn’t hit the market yet.
According to IIHS president Adrian Lund the results indicate that “Buick is building state-of-the-art crash protection into every model from the ground up. This means the best overall protection in the most common kinds of crashes, along with standard electronic stability control for helping drivers to stay out of many crashes to begin with.”
Among the key features that have enabled current Buicks to enjoy Top Pick safety status, include the use of high strength steel in the vehicle body structure, ABS and panic braking technology, collapsible pedals, GM’s Stabilitrak dynamic control system and a plethora of airbags – the Verano alone has 10 of them.
Lund’s sentiments are echoed by Jack R. Nerad, veteran auto journalist and editorial director of Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com website, who stated in response to the Top Safety pick awards that “Buick buyers want to make certain that any vehicle they buy has state-of-the-art safety features. With this in mind, Buick engineers have incorporated an unprecedented combination of safety systems to more than address that need.”
Interestingly, the newest IIHS Top Pick Buick, the Verano, was also named by kbb.com as one of it’s “Ten Best sedans under $25,000.” Clearly it seems that Buick is indeed back.
Watch the IIHS Verano crash test below.
For many of us, brake squeal is something that can really get on our nerves. You’re traveling along a busy thoroughfare, you hit the brake pedal and screech! Not only is it irritating, but also embarrassing, since on warmer days, motorists in other surrounding vehicles usually know that its you.
The thing is, brake squeal happens to be incredibly common and although is often associated with worn pads, can also afflict anchors that are in decent working order, since it is a by product of frequencies caused by vibration, which happens every time the pads touch the surface of the rotor.
And until now, there wasn’t really much of a cure for it. Well General Motors is hoping to address that and currently has a group of the companies engineers working on a solution to the problem. However, like much in the automotive universe, the idea isn’t actually a new invention at all.
The Coulomb friction damped disc brake (based on a damping mechanism design originally created by 18th century Physicist Charles Agustin de Coulomb), uses a thin ring of metal that’s actually embedded in the brake rotor, designed to absorb vibrations when the pads hit the rotor and thus significantly reduce squealing.
The new disc design follows on from corrosion resistance technology developed by GM and while still undergoing testing, could become available on certain cars and trucks in the General’s lineup within two to three years.
In addition, because the Coulomb design means engineers have to worry less about brake noise, it could, according to GM brake expert Jim Webster, allow engineers to develop future brake systems that use new materials with higher coefficients of friction. This would enable brake rotor designs that provide more powerful clamping force than those on the market today, but ones that would be smaller and lighter, thus increasing safety while enabling vehicle weight savings.
And given that automakers are looking every which way they can to shave vehicle mass in order to meet mandated higher fuel economy standards, such a concept as smaller brakes would no doubt be welcomed on that front too.
For more information on brake squeal reduction, click on the link below:
In response to complaints from a number of Lotus Elise owners, who say that their tires have become coated in oil, causing handling problems, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun an investigation into the root cause of the problem.
In a recently filed document, NHTSA said, on its website that it had received 17 individual complaints from Elise owners that an oil cooler line ruptured, spraying the fluid onto the rear wheel assemblies and elsewhere in the engine bay.
The problem is believed to affect some 4,400 cars from the 2005 and 2006 model years; some individual statements from complaining owners include; “the oil line released from its fitting on the front right oil cooler, wetting the tire with oil. The car spun and left the road,” though that same owner reported no damage occurred.
Yet another alleges that his Elise actually caught fire as a result of an oil leak issue, though at present, NHTSA is not aware of any such incidents nor injuries resulting from the problem. It’ll be interesting to see if this safety probe turns into a full-blown recall.
[Source: New York Times]
They’ve been problematic ever since the Feds mandated them back in 2007. Now, the Toyota Tundra is the latest to join the list for Tire Pressure Monitoring System woes.
A recall has been issued for a number of 2007-11 model year Tundras because they may have incorrectly calibrated TPMS systems, preventing warning lights from operating when tire pressures are low. Around 1,697 trucks are affected, all of which were originally sold in the South Eastern United States.
Owners of the affected trucks will be notified by Toyota and dealers will fix the problem free of charge.
Now this is a first, a vehicle being recalled because of problems resulting from a certain creature, which likes to make a nest in part of the emissions control system!
Yet it’s absolutely true. Based on findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mazda has issued a recall on approximately 52,000 Mazda6 models. A certain species of spider thinks that the car’s Evaporative Canister vent line is a very nice place to call home. However, when this spider starts weaving webs, these can block the flow of vapor from the canister itself through the line.
Because the canister is constantly being purged during normal engine operation, any blockage can cause the fuel tank pressure to become excessively negative, to the point that the fuel tank itself can crack, potentially causing fuel leakage and fire hazards.
But how do you fix a problem like this? Well, NHTSA and Mazda say that dealers will first inspect and clean out the vent line and then, install a small spring, so these spiders can no longer make a home in it. Customers of the affected vehicles are already being notified of the problem and the recall is expected to begin on or around March 25.
For more information, owners are asked to call the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov.
It’s no mystery what women really want… well, at least that’s the case when it comes to cars. Unlike men, who are easily swayed by bold design statements, sexy lines and flashy performance, women are more impressed by vehicles that are practical, economical and safe.
To back up the claim that women like their cars small and practical, TrueCar, a pricing intelligence firm, looked into vehicle registration data, rather than purchaser information, which allowed them to eliminate the concept of household decision-making.
Ranking highest on the list of female favorites was Kia, which scored almost 46 percent of vehicle registrations. Following at a close second is Suzuki and MINI at 44 percent. Other brands that rounded out the top 10 include Volvo, Subaru and Hyundai. As for qualities that were most important to women, safety and value topped the list at 42 percent.
When it came to price and value, all of the brands, other than MINI and Subaru, had a discount of between five and 10 percent off MSRP. Mitsubishi, which came in 10th in the list, discounted their vehicles, on average, 10.1 percent from MSRP, while 41.5 percent of them were registered to women.
As for the men – they almost exclusively registered exotic cars and exclusive luxury vehicles. According to the survey, women bought no Bugattis (zero percent), followed by Ferrari, Lamborghini, Tesla, and Aston Martin that came in at less than 10 percent. Lotus brought up the rear, with only 10 percent bought by women.
Ranking among the top for men were truck models from GMC, Dodge, and Hummer.
[Source: The Car Connection]