After refusing a government request two weeks earlier, the automaker will conduct a recall but denies its vehicles are unsafe.
"Chrysler Group’s analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group," the company said in a statement. "Nonetheless, Chrysler Group recognizes that this matter has raised concerns for its customers and wants to take further steps, in coordination with NHTSA, to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles."
Two weeks earlier, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requested the automaker recall the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty for fuel tank leaks and fires related to rear-end collisions. At least 51 people have died in crashes where the vehicles ignited after being hit from behind, the federal agency said in an unusually detailed, 13-page report that tracked crash data from Chrysler and competitor vehicles. While the vehicles met all U.S. safety laws, NHTSA said that more drivers died from fuel-related fires in these Jeep models than in any competitor's models.
"The design defect is the placement of the fuel tanks in the position behind the axle and how they were positioned, including their height above the roadway," NHTSA said.
Revamped MyFord Touch system will be similar to one used in the F-150 pickup and will get another software update.
Ford has apparently come up with a way to fix its much-maligned MyFord Touch system, and it’s already being used on one of the automaker’s most popular vehicles.
Ford plans to add more physical buttons and knobs for volume and other basic functions to the largely touch-based infotainment system to counter the criticism and negative customer feedback encountered since MyFord Touch launched in 2010.
MyFord Touch was cited as the reason Ford dropped from fifth to 23rd in the 2011 J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Survey in 2011, and fell to 27th in the 2012 results. Ahead of the J.D. Power IQS results that will be released tomorrow, Ford issued a press release yesterday that said 79 percent of its 2013 model-year vehicles have been sold with Sync and MyFord Touch – double the “take rate” for the HondaLink and Toyota Entune infotainment systems.
But to further allay any future damage, Ford will adopt the changes it made to MyFord Touch for its best-selling F-150 pickup.
High-performance ute most expensive in Q5 lineup
The 2014 Audi SQ5 high-performance SUV will cost $51,900 when it hits showrooms later this summer. The first S variant of the Q-line makes power with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 delivering 354 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque.
An eight-speed Tiptronic transmission will send power to all four wheels via Audi’s Quattro system, which will help it get to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. Top speed is 155 mph.
Electronic license plates could reportedly save the state money, and they may even a flash warning if a driver is uninsured.
Physical owner's manuals that used to come with every car are giving way to electronic versions. And now the metal license plate attached to every car may be the next part to go digital.
South Carolina is considering whether to implement electronic license plates, or “e-tags,” for cars and trucks in the state. The plates employ an electrophoretic display similar to technology used in e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook.
In addition to saving the state money and drivers the hassle of going to the DMV or waiting for a metal plate to arrive via the mail, e-tags could easily be changed and updated. They could also display words such as “STOLEN” or “AMBER ALERT” to warn the public and police of potential road hazards or "UNINSURED” to expose deadbeat drivers who are lacking proper insurance coverage.
New iOS in the Car feature could be difficult for automakers to implement – and makes Apple more of a follower than a leader.
For years it was rumored that Apple didn’t care much about cars, notwithstanding late founder and CEO Steve Jobs' affinity for the Mercedes-Benz SL.
The general consensus was that Apple was happier selling the mobile devices that drivers plugged into their cars, since for years the company’s products so dominated the portable device market. The term “iPod integration” became a catch-all phrase and a required feature for automakers.
But that was when connectivity meant nothing more than an auxiliary audio jack, and later, a USB port. Now that it has evolved into accessing cloud-based content via a tethered smartphone or using an embedded modem – or a combination of the two, as with systems such as BMW’s ConnectedDrive and Toyota’s Entune – Apple is now making a much more serious play in the car.
Last week, in announcing its upcoming iOS 7 mobile operating system, which will be released this fall, Apple unveiled several exclusive in-car features under the name "iOS in the Car" that integrate music, messaging, navigation and other functions from a connected Apple device into the dashboard. But like others who cover the connected car, it left me wondering how automakers will integrate iOS in the Car with their own infotainment systems, and how it will coexist with non-Apple portable device integration solutions that are trying to establish a standard to connect all devices and work with all automakers.
And given the limited capabilities of iOS in the Car, it also made me and others I spoke with wonder why the innovative company is choosing to follow rather than lead.
In total, about 480,000 SUVs from 2006-2007 are at risk for window switch fires and short circuits.
The driver's master window switches on 2006-2007 SUVs based on the discontinued Chevrolet Trailblazer can short circuit and cause the locks to function intermittently and even cause the door to melt and catch fire. The 2006-2007 GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Saab 9-7X, Isuzu Ascender are also included, as well as the longer-wheelbase 2006 GMC Envoy XL and Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT.
In August, GM recalled nearly 250,000 of the same SUVs but had limited the total to vehicles sold or registered in 20 "salt belt" states, including the District of Columbia. Now, GM is recalling all vehicles for these model years, including 193,652 in the United States and an additional 38,000 in Canada, Mexico and other countries.
The head-up display shows the vehicle’s speed and also the speed limit in the vicinity. But it’s up to the driver to make sure the latter is correct.
The 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan has plenty of bells and whistles in the AWD Platinum Collection trim I drove, including the slick CUE infotainment system and a slew of active safety systems that even give drivers a warning in the seat of their pants.
The head-up display (HUD) that uses a mirror and projector in the dashboard to project information onto the windshield is low tech by comparison, but it works well.
One of my favorite features of the HUD is the speedometer display, because it places this info right in your face, with no need even to glance down at the instrument panel. In addition, the Cadillac XTS also shows the speed limit in the vicinity, when it's available, posting the limit right next to the car’s speed in the HUD.
The speed limit info is supplied by the navigation system. But just as you can’t always rely on a navigation system to know everything about an area and give you accurate directions, you also can’t always rely on the XTS to give you information on the correct speed limit.
2013 Rams have software errors with headlights and taillights, while the front axle can fail on 2012 models.
Since its introduction last fall, the 2013 Ram has been recalled six separate times.
A total of 30,197 Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickups from 2013 may not alert drivers with the usual warning light on the instrument panel if a taillight is out. Of these vehicles, 1,253 Ram 2500s and 3500s from 2013 will also be recalled to ensure the headlights aim correctly when the high beams are used. Only vehicles with optional xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights are affected. Chrysler dealers will apply software updates to the vehicles starting in July.
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Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Raised in Volvos, he has grown to love fast, irresponsible vehicles of all kinds. He is the senior news editor at MSN Autos and also reports for Car and Driver, Road & Track, The Boston Globe and other publications.
In the garage: 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (not his)
Doug Newcomb has covered car technology for over 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and technology.
In the garage: 1996 Chevrolet Impala SS, two 1984 Chevrolet Blazers, 2008 Honda CR-V
James Tate learned to drive stick at age 13 in a 1988 Land Cruiser - in La Paz, Bolivia. He's since been a mechanic, on a pit crew and has wrenched on every car he's owned since his first 1989 Honda CRX Si (and won't stop until the car is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS). His work has appeared in Car and Driver, Popular Mechanics, Automobile and others.
In the garage: 1995 Porsche 911 Carrera, 1988 BMW M5
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