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NHTSA opens preliminary probe onto Bosch EV chargers

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluation into the likelihood that around 50 EV chargers made by Robert Bosch LLC may overheat and result in a fire. The investigation came after a driver of a 2013 Nissan Leaf reported smoke emissions while the vehicle was charging.

Bosch spokeswoman Cheryl Kilborn stated that the German supplier was reviewing the filing and would cooperate with the investigation as it tries to determine the cause of the matter. On the other hand, Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman told Reuters in an e-mail that the Japanese carmaker was aware of the investigation and would assist in it as needed.

According to NHTSA and the consumer complaint filed in August 2013, the charger in issue -- a Bosch Power Xpress 240V -- had been charging for over an hour at 30 amps at a private home when indications of overheating, including a "strong burning smell," were noticed.

Read the entire article NHTSA opens preliminary probe onto Bosch EV chargers

2017 Tesla Model X scores five stars in all of NHTSA safety tests

Tesla Motors could now confidently say that its Tesla Model X is the safest sports utility vehicle and perhaps the safest electric vehicle so far.

After all, no other SUV or vehicle could surpass the recent ratings scored by the Tesla Model X (2017 model year) in the latest round of independent tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of course, there is nothing that exceeds the maximum five stars awarded by NHTSA to vehicles following testing. This means other SUVs or vehicles could – at best – match the ratings earned by the 2017 Tesla Model X.

Overall, five variants of the 2017 Tesla Model X SUV were tested: Model X 60D AWD, Model X 75D AWD, Model X 90D AWD, Model X P90D AWD and Model X P100D AWD. All these variants were made to undergo three test categories: front crash, overall side crash (both side barrier and pole crashes) and rollover resistance.

Read the entire article 2017 Tesla Model X scores five stars in all of NHTSA safety tests

VW and Bosch to pay at least $1.6B to customers over Dieselgate scandal

As the Dieselgate scandal continues its run, German carmaker Volkswagen AG and supplier Robert Bosch GmbH each reached a settlement agreement with owners of VW, Audi and Porsche diesel-powered vehicles found to be cheating emissions tests. The agreement, once approved, would entail a payment of at least $1.6 billion to accommodate specific actions – repair, buy back or compensation – meant to settle the companies’ differences with affected customers.

VW’s settlement agreement covers around 78,000 VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles powered by the group’s 3.0-liter TDI V6 diesel engine. This agreement became necessary because of the so-called Dieselgate scandal, which is basically a scheme implemented by VW to sell around 590,000 diesel-powered vehicles in the US – from model years 2009 to 2016 -- by making it seem that these units were cleaner than they actually were. Regulators have found out that VW employed a defeat device that helps these vehicles cheat on emissions tests.

Under the 3.0-liter TDI settlement program, Volkswagen would pay up to $1.2 billion in benefits assuming that 100 percent of affected customers take part; all eligible Generation 1 vehicles are bought back; and Generation 2 vehicles are fixed with an Emissions Compliant Repair to bring them to same emissions standards as they were certified.

Read the entire article VW and Bosch to pay at least $1.6B to customers over Dieselgate scandal

NHTSA issues $105 million fine to Fiat Chrysler for mishandling recalls

For failing to manage the recalls properly and in a timely manner, a record $105 million fine will be imposed on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to two sources. They also said that this matter will be handled by an independent safety monitor under extensive penalties that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration imposed.

In some of the cases, FCA will have to buy back some of the vehicles as part of the government’s investigation into how it handled almost 24 recalls that cover 11 million light vehicles. The recall covers 1.5 million older Jeep models with rear fuel tanks that were related to multiple fatal fires.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the fines and the terms of the settlement between the NHTSA and FCA. As part of the deal, FCA intends to give cash to convince those who own older Jeeps with rear fuel tanks to get repairs done. The sources said that the FCA may even offer an extra trade-in allowance on top of the value of recalled Jeep models if customers choose to trade it in.

Read the entire article NHTSA issues $105 million fine to Fiat Chrysler for mishandling recalls

Takata Corp. is facing a $14,000-a-day fine from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for its failure to "fully cooperate" with the agency’s probe into its exploding airbag inflators linked to at least six deaths. Takata will have to pay $14,000 fine every day until it addresses its shortcomings in the probe.

The NHTSA has warned Takata that it will refer the situation to the Department of Justice if the Japanese supplier fails to take action, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. The fines refers from the NHTSA’s “special orders” issued in 2014 asking Takata to produce documents and answer questions under oath over its airbags -- to help NHTSA’s probe into the defect.

According to a letter to Takata attorneys sent by NHTSA chief counsel Kevin Vincent, the company has supplied more than 2.4 million pages of documents in response to the special orders, which are considered subpoenas. The document production orders also require the supplier to include descriptions to explain the content of submitted documents, but Takata has failed to do so.

Read the entire article Takata Corp. is facing daily fine of $14,000 from the NHTSA

President Obama has proposed allocating $31.3 million to Office of Defect Investigation of the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2016 thereby greatly boosting the funds of the division that investigates vehicle safety defects. The current budget was $11 million.

Once granted, this would allow the office to double its workforce from 51 to 108 employees, including 22 engineers, new investigators, statisticians and other employees – giving the office more hands to detect and analyze safety defects.

The budget hike is part of a proposed plan to spend almost $6 billion on NHTSA over the next six years, including $908 million in fiscal year2016. While lawmakers are generally backing calls for more funding for the NHTSA, a number of them are also pushing for broader reforms like expanded enforcement powers as well as a more arms-length relationship with the auto industry.

Read the entire article NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigation may get $31.3M budget

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is probing whether Ford Motor Co. did enough in recalling Super Duty pickups over stalling complaints. NHTSA said on a notice posted on its Web site that the probe entails around 200,000 MY2011-2012 F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550.

One of the affected owners complained that a warning light indicated “Stop Safely Now” while driving, and the truck lost all throttle response and stalled. It had to be towed to a dealer for repair.

According to NHTSA, an exhaust-gas sensor located behind the diesel particulate filter in the exhaust systems may fail to function, resulting to warnings and sudden engine shutdowns. Safety regulators said the probe was prompted by around 30 consumer complaints.

Read the entire article NHTSA launches probe on recall of Ford Super Duty pickups

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a probe into a possible defect into 50,415 MY2015 Jeep Cherokees after one unit burst into flames two days after purchase. According to a complaint posted on NHTSA’s Web site, the vehicle owner purchased the Cherokee on January 2. Two days after on Jan. 4, the owners noticed an oily smell while driving.

The driver then parked the Cherokee and then white smoke seeped from the hood. Within seconds the entire car was engulfed in fire, with “flames 20 feet high.” According to the complaint, a 50-yard trail of burning oil or fuel ran down the street following the fire.

NHTSA probers are now trying to find out the cause of the incident and the frequency and scope of the potential issue. The agency’s Office of Defect Investigations has also received early-warning report data related to the alleged issue, according to investigation’s opening document posted on its Web site.

Read the entire article MY2015 Cherokee fire prompts NHTSA to launch probe

Wolf-Henning Scheider has resigned from Robert Bosch to join engine parts maker Mahle. He was chief of Bosch's automotive division. Bosch is now grouping all automotive activities grouped under the new mobility solutions business sector, and has assigned Rolf Bulander to take over Scheider’s role.

Bulander will also be in charge of Bosch’s diesel systems, gasoline systems, and starter motors and generators divisions as well as for the electrical drives division. Dirk Hoheisel, meanwhile, will take charge of Bosch’s automotive steering business as well as the chassis systems control, car multimedia, and automotive electronics divisions.

Assuming Scheider’s sales and marketing roles will be Markus Heyn, who was most recently president of the Bosch diesel systems unit. He will also be in charge of the automotive aftermarket division and the ETAS and Bosch Engineering subsidiaries.

Read the entire article Wolf-Henning Scheider quits Bosch, joins Mahle

Recent developments are showing that Takata Corp.’s carmaker-customers as well as the United States the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are losing confidence over the Japanese supplier’s ability to solve the current faulty airbag inflator recall crisis.

Takata has said it was still trying to sort out the root cause of the defect and has rejected calls from the NHTSA to expand the regional recalls into a national one. Likewise, Takata has been giving next to no information about the progress of the steps it was taking.

In fact, the supplier’s top executives have avoided making public appearances in Japan. Just within 24 hours after informing the NHTSA on Dec. 2 that it would reject demands for nationwide recall of its driver-side airbags, the agency and customers as well as rival suppliers announced to take some actions.

Read the entire article NHTSA and customers loses confidence in Takata in resolving crisis

David Friedman, Deputy Chief of the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has said that a decision by the Chrysler Group to limit an expansion of a recall of vehicles fitted with Takata Corp.’s potentially faulty passenger-side airbag inflators has placed American drivers at risk.

He said the refusal defies common sense, adding that NHTSA will determine next steps and take action “to ensure that Chrysler shares our sense of urgency in the interest of public safety.” Friedman’s claims against Chrysler highlights the increasing tensions between the two entities.

This is also the second time this month NHTSA has publicly called out Chrysler for what it perceives as Chrysler’s failure in handling of vehicles fitted with possibly faulty Takata airbag inflators.

Read the entire article NHTSA head hits Chrysler Group for issuing a limited expanded recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has demanded Takata to submit documents and answer questions under oath over its use of ammonium nitrate as a propellant in its airbag inflators. The request gives rise to suggestions that NHTSA might be looking at ammonium nitrate as a possible cause of ruptured Takata inflators that have been tied to five deaths globally.

NHTSA demands were outlined in its Nov. 18 special order, which is equivalent to a subpoena. Takata has been used inexpensive ammonium nitrate as the gas-producing propellant to inflate airbags during a crash. Ammonium nitrate is also used in explosives and fertilizers and could become unstable when exposed to humidity and moisture.

NHTSA wants Takata to produce all documents that expressly or implicitly say that the chemical is too unstable to be used in airbag inflators.

Read the entire article NHTSA wants Takata to send documents over use of ammonium nitrate

Takata Corp. is getting ready to comply with an order from the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to upgrade a regional recall into national one, according to a report by Nikkei. NHTSA last week gave Takata until December 2 to declare that its airbag inflators are defective and to issue a national recall – a move that could add a few more million cars to nearly 8 million already recalled.

If Takata fails to heed the order, NHTSA could impose up to $7,000 per vehicle in fines against the Japanese supplier while forcing the company to issue a recall. According to Nikkei, Takata was already in final preparations to expand the recall that has so far only included places having high humidity.

A Takata spokeswoman, however, remarked that no decision had been made regarding the NHTSA order. A number of carmakers have recalled regionally over 4.1 million cars fitted with Takata airbags – with Honda accounting for over half of the called back units.

Read the entire article Takata to comply with NHTSA request for US-wide recalls, Nikkei reports

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to commence its recall of airbags with faulty Takata Corp. inflators on Dec. 1, 2014, or three weeks earlier than the Japanese supplier planned. “The consequences of these inflator failures are serious,” NHTSA’s deputy administrator, David Friedman, wrote to Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne.

He noted in the letter that metal fragments are shot towards occupants causing serious injury or death. According to NHTSA, Takata will start shipment of replacement parts to Chrysler on Dec. 1, and the carmaker should sent notices no later than that date.

Chrysler decided to recall 371,000 vehicles in June to replace the airbag inflators, but has no plans to send notices to vehicle owners until Dec. 19, when replacement parts are available, Scott Kunselman, the carmaker’s senior vice president and head of vehicle safety and regulatory compliance, said during a Senate hearing last week.

Read the entire article NHTSA wants Chrysler to recall cars with Takata airbags on December 1

American Honda admitted that it failed to report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 1,729 incidents of deaths or injuries tied to potential safety defects in its vehicles since 2003. Eight of those incidents were linked to faulty Takata airbag inflators.

According to Honda, the reporting errors were due a series of data entry and computer programming errors, as well as an “overly narrow interpretation” of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act (TREAD Act).

The act requires carmakers to file quarterly reports to the NHTSA of all incidents of deaths or injuries possibly tied to safety defects in their vehicles. The TREAD Act also requires carmakers to report any customer injuries, lawsuits, warranty claims and complaints.

Read the entire article American Honda admits failure to report 1,729 claims to NHTSA

Honda executive Rick Schostek has told the United States Congress that the carmaker failed to properly inform National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of some crashes in which Takata airbags exploded and to provide customers of the dangers that some models present.

Schostek also admitted that Honda still has no knowledge of the extent of the issue, although he said that the carmaker is working to find out and to make repairs as soon as possible. He remarked that he understands the confusion of consumers on whether they have to get their vehicle repaired.

Schostek generally took responsibility for the carmaker’s role in the airbag crisis, saying that Honda is willing to cooperate with regulators and consumers and would even offer loaner vehicles to those who can’t get their airbag replaced quickly due to parts shortages.

Read the entire article Honda failed to inform NHTSA on some crashes in which Takata airbags exploded, says exec

By 2025, fuel-cell technology will be less costly due to greater economies of scale and will be commercially viable for mass use in vehicles, according to Wolf-Henning Scheider, head of Bosch's automotive division. Fuel cell vehicles still have to gain acceptance due to prohibitive development costs despite their capability to travel five times longer distance than electric cars and take less time to refuel.

Scheider remarked that fuel cell vehicles are a viable alternative to other zero-emission vehicle technologies. He quipped that while fuel-cell powertrains might still be twice as costly to build than those found in electric cars in 2025, the higher operating range of fuel-cell cars would make them a viable alternative.

Carmakers developing fuel cell vehicles include Daimler, Hyundai, Nissan, Ford, General Motors, Toyota and Honda and General Motors are all developing fuel-cell vehicles. Toyota and Honda have plans to commence sales of fuel-cell vehicles next year.

Read the entire article Bosch exec says fuel-cell tech will be commercially viable by 2025

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has asked Honda Motor Co. to provide documents and answer questions under oath linked to the agency’s current investigation of potentially faulty Takata Corp. air bags fitted in millions of recalled vehicles. NHTSA wants to see all internal communications at Honda related to Takata airbag inflators.

All documents like field reports, warranty claims and pre-suit legal claims, incidents and lawsuits related to the issue are also being sought. NHTSA has also asked the carmaker whether it sent any employees to visit Takata sites in the US or Mexico starting in 2000. Honda has until December 15 to deliver the requested documents.

The agency’s chief counsel, Kevin Vincent, earlier issued a special order to Honda as part of a probe on whether the carmaker failed to fully report accident-related deaths and injuries as required by US. Both Takata and Honda have expressed willingness to cooperate with the government investigation.

Read the entire article NHTSA wants Honda to provide documents related to Takata airbags

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a special order to American Honda to “investigate the extent and scope” of the carmaker’s failures to report deaths or injuries tied to potential auto safety defects. Honda is being accused of failing to report at least two incidents linked to faulty airbags made by Takata Corp.

In documents posted on its Web site, NHTSA said it is concerned that Honda’s reporting failures go beyond the Takata incidents. The agency added that it has received information from Honda indicating that the carmaker may have failed to comply with its TREAD reporting obligations.

Carmakers are required by law to report every vehicle accident involving a death or injury on a quarterly basis using the Early Warning Reports. NHTSA said that “Early Warning Reporting” information is one of many data sources that the agency depends on to spot possible defects.

Read the entire article NHTSA probes failure of Honda to submit documents regarding defective airbags

The Center for Auto Safety, a watchdog group, sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urging the agency to broaden its probe into Takata Corp. possibly faulty airbags to include vehicles fitted with parts made through 2011. The Center for Auto Safety has also called for the NHTSA to determine whether replacements will be safe.

The watchdog group cited a crash in Orlando, Fla., in September involving a car that should have been fixed under a 2011 recall. The incident on Sept. 29, 2014, involved a Honda Accord driven by Hien Thi Tran, who died days later. Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes said Tran’s death was initially probed as a homicide since deep cuts on her neck were inconsistent with crash injuries.

Orange County Sheriff’s Department, however, blamed her death on the airbag, returning the probe to the highway patrol, Montes said. Montes told Automotive News on October 18 that the highway patrol investigation would to take at least a month. She recently said that the probe crash investigation is awaiting the review of the car by an airbag expert.

Read the entire article NHTSA urged to broaden probe over Takata airbag defect on newer models
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