• Jeep recalls new Grand Cherokees to update airbag software

    February 3, 2015
    Fiat Chrysler is preparing to recall approximately 230,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs from the 2014 and 2015 model years.
    The company acknowledges a software deficiency that allows airbags to improperly deploy during certain ‘extreme’ maneuvers, even if the vehicle is not involved in an accident.

    The fix is focused on side-airbag deployment, which can sometimes occur when the SUVs are off-roading at steep lateral angles. The software appears to mistakenly interpret such scenarios as accidental rollovers.

    The same model years were recalled late last year to fix an airbag non-deployment problem. The issue was traced back to an electrical fault that caused a short in the occupant restraint control (ORC) modules.

    The company has not outlined a time-frame for beginning the latest software recall.

  • Exec hints at turbocharged, Mazdaspeed MX-5 Miata

    February 3, 2015
    Mazda earlier this week confirmed that the new MX-5 will provide 155 horsepower in the US market, however one executive is already hinting at more powerful packages in the works.
    The lighter fourth-generation model boasts a slightly better power-to-weight ratio than its predecessor, despite a downgrade in output from its 2.0-liter SkyActiv engine.

    Mazda PR manager Kudo Hidetoshi promises the company is seriously considering a larger displacement engine, or a turbocharged variant. The latter option is said to be more likely, with minimal negative impact on fuel efficiency and vehicle weight.

    “We will have this ND-series model for maybe ten years, which gives us plenty of time to make many variants,” Hidetoshi told Motoring. “And yes, a turbocharged or [Mazdaspeed] variant is one of the options we will definitely consider.”

    The comments suggest a powerplant upgrade will not be available for several years, potentially after the rumored coupe edition arrives.

  • McLaren builds 5,000th carbon-fiber MonoCell chassis

    February 3, 2015
    McLaren is celebrating a new production milestone, building the 5,000th car in the newly named Super Series family.
    Based on the company’s carbon-fiber MonoCell chassis, the lineup began with the 12C in 2011. The company then added the 12C Spider, the popular 650S and finally the Asia-market 625C.

    Th 5,000th car, a 650S Coupe clad in Volcano Yellow paint, today rolled off the assembly line at the McLaren Technology Centre. It will now be headed to a customer in Australia.

    The company claims its Super Series is now the highest volume carbon-fiber supercar range ever. The milestone was reached after only the fourth full year of production, with 2014 sales surpassing 1,400 units.

    “We have built a solid foundation for the business, delivering record numbers year on year, and I look forward to our next production milestone with the addition of the 675LT to the Super Series, and the new Sports Series later in the year,” said McLaren Automotive chief Mike Flewitt.

  • Nissan GT-R LM NISMO race car heads to Chicago

    February 3, 2015
    Following a teaser appearance in Nissan’s Super Bowl commercial, the GT-R LM NISMO race car will be headed to the Chicago Auto Show.
    The company has taken a unique approach with its Le Mans entry, opting for a front-engine layout. The GT-R’s twin-turbocharged V6 engine can be found under the hood, powering the front wheels, while hybrid power is generated by the front driveline to provide supplemental power during acceleration.

    “LM P1 cars are the most extreme sports cars in racing today so, for Nissan and NISMO, the opportunity to innovate at the highest level could not be missed,” said NISMO marketing head Darren Cox. “The competition is well-established and the racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship is ultra-close, but this is a challenge that Nissan has accepted and the Nissan NISMO team will fight like it has never fought before.”

    The GT-R LM NISMO will be on display in Chicago alongside other NISMO-badged model, including the GT-R, 370Z, Juke, Juke RS, Sentra and a new mystery street concept that will be revealed on February 12.

  • NHTSA re-recalls 2.1M vehicles to fix airbag glitch

    February 3, 2015
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a follow-up recall for more than 2.1 million decade-old vehicles manufactured by Chrysler, Honda and Toyota.
    The vehicles were already listed in previous recall campaigns to fix a problem with TRW-sourced electronic components, blamed for inadvertent airbag deployment in the absence of a crash.

    After monitoring incoming data from consumers and automakers, the agency has concluded that the original fix was insufficient to fully resolve the problem. At least 40 vehicles have experienced improper airbag deployment after receiving the original remedy.

    The situation is considered particularly serious because approximately a million of the Toyota and Honda vehicles were built with defective Takata airbag inflators, which could rupture and cause shrapnel injuries during deployment.

    “This is unfortunately a complicated issue for consumers, who may have to return to their dealer more than once,” said NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind. “But this is an urgent safety issue, and all consumers with vehicles covered by the previous recalls should have that remedy installed.”

    Affected vehicles include the Acura MDX, Dodge Viper, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty, Honda Odyssey, Pontiac Vibe, and the Toyota Corolla, Matrix and Avalon.