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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Toyota Sued Over Defects

The California autoworker who is suing Toyota and others in a whistleblower lawsuit said Tuesday she was merely carrying out the quality-conscious Toyota way in spotting defects when managers cracked down on her efforts and demoted her.

Katy Cameron, 54, employed for 23 years at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., a joint venture between Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp. in Fremont, Calif., filed a lawsuit against the companies on Nov. 6 in Alameda County Superior Court.

The suit accuses management at NUMMI of routinely deleting or downgrading defects that Cameron found as a certified auditor -- including broken seat belts, faulty headlights, inadequate braking and steering wheel alignment problems -- and demands $45 million in damages for retaliation against a whistleblower and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

From the Staff of the Detroit Free Press

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Monday, December 24, 2007

GM Recalls 313,000 Vehicles Worldwide

General Motors Corp. recalled more than 313,000 Saturn, Pontiac and Cadillac vehicles around the globe to fix a rear-axle seal that may leak and cause the vehicles to lose control and crash.

In the United States, the recall covers 275,936 Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice and Cadillac CTS, CTS-V, SRX, STS and STS-V vehicles from the 2005-07 model years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is GM's biggest domestic recall in 2007.

A fluid leak in the rear-axle pinion seal may cause the vehicles' rear differential to lock up, possibly causing a loss of control, GM said in a Dec. 19 letter to NHTSA.

Two crashes were reported, GM spokeswoman Carolyn Markey said; one involved an injury.

The recall stems from a preliminary inquiry that NHTSA began in July after receiving 20 reports from motorists of rear differential failures. Almost all the complaints cited the back wheels of the vehicles locking up, the agency said.

Research recalls for your Saturn, Pontiac or Cadillac or find a lemon law attorney.

Source: Detroit Free Press

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chrysler Turns Sour Over State Lemon Law Decision

HARTFORD, CT — The state Supreme Court has ruled the Chrysler auto company can't get sales tax refunds on clunkers that it has to buy back under the state's Lemon Law.

The high court unanimously held that the state government's general immunity from lawsuits trumped the legal claims that Chrysler made.

Under the state's Lemon Law, a buyer may return a defective new motor vehicle to a manufacturer, who must then provide a refund or a comparable new vehicle and reimburse the buyer for certain other charges, including sales taxes.

Chrysler argued the state government is penalizing the company and unjustly profiting from its compliance with the Lemon Law.

The company contended that it loses sales tax on every vehicle it must buy back, but the state keeps the original sales tax, and it collects new taxes paid when a consumer uses a refund to buy a new car.

The state Department of Revenue Services and a Superior Court judge both ruled against Chrysler. The company appealed to the Supreme Court. The appeal sought to revive its legal challenge.

Paul Hughes - Republican American

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Latest Ford Recall Issued After Engine Defect Linked to 14 Accidents

The Ford recall encompasses 1.2 million trucks, SUVs and vans from the 1997-2003 model years with 7.3 liter diesel engines. The recall includes Ford E-Series van, Excursion full-size sport utility vehicle, and F-450 Super Duty and F-550 Super Duty trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the camshaft position sensor - an electrical component that helps regulate the fuel going into the engine- located on the engine could function intermittently and lead to an engine stall and potential crash.

While fourteen accidents have been caused by the defective Ford engines, so far, no one has been injured. A Ford spokesperson told the Associated Press that in the event of an engine stall, drivers traveling in the recalled Ford vehicles at speeds greater than 30 miles per hour would have full power steering and power braking, allowing them to pull over to the side of the road. At speeds below 30 mph, the motorists would still have braking and steering functions, the spokesperson said.

Ford said that owners of the recalled vehicles will be notified by mail and instructed to take their vehicles to a Ford or Lincoln/Mercury dealer to have their vehicles inspected, and if necessary repaired. There will be no charge to owners for this service. The notifications for this latest Ford recall will be sent in phased mailings between mid-Dec and end of May, Ford said.

This is the second Ford recall since August, when the company recalled 3.6 million vehicles because a faulty cruise control switch could be a fire hazard. The same problem with the cruise control switch was responsible for a recall of 6 million cars, trucks, SUV and vans in January 2005. At the time of the August recall, Ford said that it had received reports of a “few” fires, though it would not confirm exactly how many such reports there had been. However, since the cruise control switch was first used by Ford in 1992, the NHTSA has documented 600 fires

In regards to the cruise control recall, Ford said that it was responding to customer concerns, and denied that the cruise control switches posed a hazard. But over the past decade, Ford has recalled 10 million vehicles because of concerns that the cruise control switch can cause fires. The Ford cruise control recalls have now covered every single car and truck built with this switch.

For a list of all Ford Recalls available visit the Ford Recall Page or find out more about Ford's Technical Service Bulletins.

12/10/07 - Source -

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Texas Consumer Claims Smith AutoPlex Sold Him A Lemon

Southeast Texas Record 12/4/07

John Read and his lawyer will spend Wednesday morning attempting to convince Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, that Mike Smith Autoplex sold him a "lemon."

The bench trial is slated to begin Dec. 5.

Citing the Texas Lemon Law, Read filed a deceptive trade practices suit against Mike Smith Autoplex and General Motors on May 10, 2007. He claimed the 2006 Buick he purchased for $21, 397.89 was rusted out underneath.

The Texas Lemon Law is a state law that helps consumers who have repeated problems getting new or leased vehicles properly repaired.

Before the suit was filed, Read claims Mike Smith Autoplex allegedly refused to properly repair or replace the vehicle. Read's lawyer then sent a letter to the dealership threatening legal action unless he received a refund but the company refused to budge.

In turn, GM also filed an answer in response to Read's claims denying any wrongdoing.

Read will ask Sanderson to award him actual damages, plus additional monetary relief for mental anguish and lawyer fees.

According to Read's original petition, on Sept. 26, 2006, he purchased a 2006 Buick from Mike Smith. Copies of the sales agreement and certificate of title are attached to the suit.

"Defendants represented to plaintiff that such vehicle was new, safe, dependable and fit for the purpose for which it was marketed and sold," the suit said. Because of the representations, plaintiff purchased the…automobile for the total cash delivered price of $21, 397.89. Additionally, Plaintiff purchased after-market accessories for such vehicle at a total cost of at least $189.00."

When Read went to have the window tint installed on his "new" car, he was shown by the mechanic that the "vehicle was rusting out underneath," the suit said, adding that the mechanic advised him to get something done about the problem quickly or the vehicle would begin experiencing additional problems and become unsafe.

"When plaintiff returned the vehicle to Mike Smith's dealership, the…defendant's mechanic changed some bolts and told plaintiff there was nothing more he could do to repair the vehicle," the suit said.

"It immediately became clear to plaintiff that, in truth and in fact, defendants' representations concerning the condition of the vehicle were false, misleading and deceptive in that the vehicle was seriously defective and not fit for the purpose for which it was intended.

"More specifically, plaintiff would show that the vehicle, although sold as 'new' was most likely either used or floodwater damaged. The vehicle is unsafe and a danger to operate on the public streets and roadways."

If you've experienced problems with your vehicle and think you might be driving a lemon, visit Texas Lemon Lawyers for a free consultation.

Southeast Texas Record - David Yates - 12/4/07

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Recalled Tires May Be A "Time Bomb" On Your Car

Are you driving on a recalled tire? You may not know it. Even more disturbing -- the experts may not know it either.

Some call it a flaw in the U.S. recall system. One woman's life was changed forever... when she took a ride on a tire that had been recalled years earlier -- and no one told her.

Carolyn Thorne says she had no idea she was driving a rolling "time bomb" when a tire on her suv suddenly ripped apart, triggering a rollover at 65 miles an hour. "All I heard was a popping sound, and the next thing I knew, I am flipping," she said

The accident left Thorne partially paralyzed. She won multi-million dollar legal settlements with the tire maker and dealers that cared for the car.

Thorne's story hightlights a disturbing reality. The tire that blew out on her car should not have been on the road at all, it had been recalled 2 years before the rollover.

Millions of recalled tires just like it have not been returned and are still on the road today.

"It's very easy to have recalled tires on your car and not even know it." Sean Kane works as an auto safety consultant who has studied the tire recall process, and was also an un-paid consultant on Thorne's case. He says only 20 percent of all recalled tires are actually found. He says even tire professionals have trouble determining which tires are recalled. "The reason we don't know where they are is because there is no tracking mechanism or identification system that works. The tire recall system is just clearly broken," Kane said.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is the federal agency that oversees tire recalls. A spokesman says the agency agrees that tire return rates are too low and more needs to be done to get recalled tires off the road, but did not say what should be done.

Kane says finding recalled tracking numbers on tires is difficult and retailers don't have a database to make sure people are driving safe tires.

That was a shock to Carolyn Thorne, who believed tire mechanics would spot the danger. "I trusted my life in the hand of so-called experts to make sure nothing like this would happen to me. But it did, the system failed."

So while the recall system may be "broken", there is still information out there. The U.S. government keeps a database of all car equipment that has been recalled, including tires. You just have to find it yourself.

Terry Wood -

You can find recalls by visit

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