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Inside this issue
NADA President Peter Welch Testifies at House Hearing on Vehicle Safety
GM's Q3 Operating Profit Jumps 37% to $3.1 Billion
Consumer Reports: Lexus Most Reliable; Buick Strong
NHTSA to Hold Hearing on Takata Air Bag Oversight
VW Suspends Quality Chief in Emissions Cheat Probe, Reports Say
Honda Plans to Market Partial Self-Driving Car in 2020
Top Stories
NADA President Peter Welch Testifies at House Hearing on Vehicle Safety

The nation’s franchised new-car dealers are integral to the completion of vehicle safety recalls and support policies that would increase the recall completion rate to 100 percent, Peter Welch, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, told a congressional panel today. The panel is considering motor vehicle safety legislation.
 
“The recall system Congress created depends on new-car dealers to fix the millions of vehicles that are now under recall. Last year our members performed 59 million warranty and recall repairs, and we are set to break that record this year,” Welch told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. “For the owners of recalled vehicles, it is their local dealer who remedies the defect or nonconformanceand at no charge to the owner.”
 
Welch also explained to members of the committee that back-ordered repair parts and recall notices that are disregarded by consumers are the two main reasons why completion rates lag, noting that it’s not unusual for a dealer to wait 60 days or more for a back-ordered recall repair part. In some instances, repair parts can be unavailable for over a year.
 
But despite these obstacles, Welch reiterated that the goal of the nation’s franchised new-car dealers is to help the recall completion rate rise from its current level of about 75 percent.

Welch highlighted problems with proposals to ground all rental and used cars under open recall, pointing out that doing so would also ground recalled vehicles for minor compliance matters, such as a wrong phone number in the owner’s manual. NHTSA was asked during the hearing to provide its data on the safety benefits of grounding rental and used cars under open recall to the committee.

Welch also encouraged the committee to urge the improvement of NHTSA’s recall database. The current system is designed for single vehicle look-ups by a consumer, not for commercial use. NHTSA should be required to upgrade its recall database to allow dealerships to automatically check, on a daily basis, which used vehicles in inventory are under open recall.

"A tool that is searchable, automated and can batch multiple requests is critical to identifying open recall vehicles and getting them fixed," Welch said.
 
Click here for Welch’s written testimony.
Source: NADA
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GM's Q3 Operating Profit Jumps 37% to $3.1 Billion

Charges tied to ignition-switch settlements total $1.5 billion

General Motors rode stout third-quarter truck sales in North America and a resilient China business to its biggest quarterly pretax operating profit since its 2009 bankruptcy, even as charges related to last year’s ignition-switch recall dented its bottom line. GM said net income dropped 1.4 percent from a year earlier to $1.36 billion, hurt by about $1.5 billion in one-time, pretax expenses related to the settlement of ignition switch-related lawsuits and GM’s agreement last month to pay $900 million to settle federal charges related to its handling of the deadly defect. The automaker’s pretax operating profit -- the number GM says best represents its underlying financial performance -- surged 37 percent, to $3.1 billion.
Source: Automotive News

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Consumer Reports: Lexus Most Reliable; Buick Strong

Acura and Cadillac fell dramatically; Ford, Kia, Hyundai and Volkswagen made gains: the Tesla Model S performance car gets a worse-than-average reliability rating

Lexus is the most reliable brand; Buick is the only Detroit brand in the top 10 and the Tesla Model S did so poorly it cannot even be recommended according to Consumer Reports' influential report on vehicle reliability released Tuesday in Detroit. While consumers continue to complain about their infotainment systems, transmissions and other motorist-stranding problems are a new and scary trend and drivetrain failures are bringing down the scores of normally reliable brands, according to the findings released Tuesday at an Automotive Press Association event.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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NHTSA to Hold Hearing on Takata Air Bag Oversight

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will hold a public meeting Thursday as the agency decides whether to take control of the record-setting recall covering 23.4 million Takata air bags in nearly 20 million vehicles built by 11 major automakers. The hearing will lay out the status of the government’s more than 15-month investigation into exploding front air bags that are linked to at least eight deaths and more than 100 injuries. Propellant in the bags can explode with too much force and send metal fragments flying. NHTSA chief Mark Rosekind said he expects the agency will decide by Thanksgiving whether to take control of the massive recalls and lay out options for what steps the agency could take.
Source: The Detroit News

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VW Suspends Quality Chief in Emissions Cheat Probe, Reports Say

Volkswagen has suspended its head of quality control, Frank Tuch, in connection with the emissions scandal at the automaker, newspaper reports said. Tuch, 48, is the fifth high-ranking VW executive put on leave as the company and external investigators probe how software designed to cheat emissions tests ended up in 11 million VW Group engines worldwide.
Source: Automotive News
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Honda Plans to Market Partial Self-Driving Car in 2020

Honda Motor Co. said it plans to sell a car with automated highway driving functions around 2020, joining the race to market self-driving vehicles that pits traditional automakers against tech firms like Google. Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. have also set 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympics, as the target date to bring self-driving cars to market.
Source: Reuters
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Quotable
"The recall system Congress created depends on new-car dealers to fix the millions of vehicles that are now under recall. Last year our members performed 59 million warranty and recall repairs, and we are set to break that record this year. For the owners of recalled vehicles, it is their local dealer who remedies the defect or nonconformance – and at no charge to the owner."

   -- NADA President Peter Welch, in testimony during today's House hearing on vehicle safety, NADA, Oct. 21

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