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February 24, 2016 FacebookTwitterFlickrRSSSEND TO A FRIENDPRINT
Inside this issue
Honda CEO Revamps Carmaker That's Expanded `Beyond Our Means'
Audi, Subaru Score, FCA Brands Lag in Consumer Reports
Takata Airbag Ruptures Caused by Mix of 3 Factors, Investigators Find
GM Ignition-Switch Test Trials to Move Forward, U.S. Judge Says
10 Cities Where Car-Shoppers Are Happiest with Dealers
Top Stories
Honda CEO Revamps Carmaker That's Expanded `Beyond Our Means'

Honda Motor Co. will overhaul vehicle development after trying to introduce models too fast and expand too quickly, with Chief Executive Officer Takahiro Hachigo reshaping the carmaker amid lingering quality problems. Japan’s third-largest automaker was “driven to launch models optimized for each region at a pace and scale beyond our means,” Hachigo, 56, said Wednesday, after sweeping management changes including the resignation of Honda’s chairman and the CEO’s second-in-command. The automaker will shake up its product-development structure, create new positions to supervise designs and clarify roles for quality, sales and other divisions. Hachigo is looking to revamp Honda one year after succeeding Takanobu Ito, who stepped down as CEO after missteps with product introductions.
Source: Bloomberg

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Audi, Subaru Score, FCA Brands Lag in Consumer Reports

Subaru scored big in Consumer Reports annual automotive brand ranking and the magazine's "top picks

Consumer Reports said Tuesday that car buyers don't need to spend big bucks to get the best cars even though premium and luxury brands took four of the top five spots in the magazine's annual ranking of the best automotive brands. Out of 30 automotive brands, Consumer Reports ranked Audi first with Subaru, Lexus, Porsche and BMW also in the top five in that order. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands had an especially bad showing this year as all four brands ranked by the magazine finished at or near the bottom. "It's not enough to make cars that drive and handle well. Consumers are best served when those vehicles are also highly reliable and safe," Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing, said in a statement.
Source: Detroit Free Press

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Takata Airbag Ruptures Caused by Mix of 3 Factors, Investigators Find

Ammonium nitrate, assembly, hot and humid climate cited

A consortium of 10 automakers investigating the root cause behind exploding airbag inflators made by Takata Corp. has fingered the ammonium nitrate propellant as a key factor in the deadly ruptures -- but not the only one. According to the group, known as the Independent Testing Coalition, the ammonium nitrate propellant used in about 23.4 million inflators that Takata deemed defective last year was contained in inflator assemblies that failed to protect the chemical from moisture in humid climates. The exposure to humidity and repeated temperature swings over time can cause the ammonium nitrate to combust violently and rupture the inflator when the airbags deploy in a crash, the group concluded. David Kelly, leader of the ITC and former chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said it was the combination of these three factors -- the use of ammonium nitrate, the construction of Takata’s inflator assembly and the exposure to heat and humidity -- that made the inflators vulnerable to rupture.
Source: Automotive News

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GM Ignition-Switch Test Trials to Move Forward, U.S. Judge Says

A federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday said he does not intend to alter, for now, a plan to try five more early test cases this year in federal litigation against General Motors over a faulty ignition switch linked to nearly 400 injuries and deaths. Lawyers for plaintiffs suing the automaker had told U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman that trying the remaining cases scheduled for this year may not be the most efficient way to advance the resolution of hundreds of remaining injury and death claims. GM had opposed their request, saying that the current plan was working as intended. During a hearing Tuesday, Furman said he intended "to stay the course" and try the remaining five bellwether, or test, cases scheduled in the federal litigation for this year.
Source: Reuters

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10 Cities Where Car-Shoppers Are Happiest with Dealers

St. Louis. Austin. New Orleans. Memphis. Nashville. Those might be pushpins on a barbecue- and gumbo-stained road map to music’s meccas, but they're also a sampling of cities where consumers are having the best experiences shopping for a car at the dealership. CarGurus released a study Tuesday ranking the top 10 cities with the most satisfied car shoppers, based on the reviews of dealerships that consumers submitted on the CarGurus site. Nashville, Tenn. was the highest-rated, with 57.5 percent of reviews being a perfect five out of five stars. San Diego was second (56.9 percent), followed by Austin, Texas (56.1 percent) and Memphis (55.8 percent). Birmingham, Ala., was No. 5 at 55.2 percent. Click here for the top 10 cities.
Source: Auto Remarketing

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Quotable
[Honda Chief Executive Officer Takahiro] Hachigo is "rekindling the core values of the company, and really focusing on who Honda is and why."

   --- John Mendel, executive vice president of Honda’s U.S. unit, on the executive's plan to revamp the automaker, Bloomberg, Feb. 24


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