2014 Nissan Rogue earns IIHS Top Safety Pick+ [w/videos]

Nissan Rogue earns Institute’s top safety award

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Nissan Rogue, a small SUV redesigned for the 2014 model year, earns the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+ award for good performance in each of the Institute’s five crashworthiness evaluations, plus a basic rating for front crash prevention. To qualify for the Institute’s highest designation, vehicles must earn good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint evaluations, as well as a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap front test. A new requirement for 2014 is that vehicles also must earn a basic, advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. The Rogue’s optional forward collision warning system is rated basic for meeting performance criteria established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the small overlap test, the driver’s space was maintained reasonably well. Injury measures recorded on the dummy indicated low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity. The dummy’s head made good contact with the front airbag, which stayed in position during the crash, and the side curtain airbag deployed to protect the head from contact with side structures.

The Institute added the small overlap test to its lineup of vehicle safety evaluations in 2012. It replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object like a tree or a utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. A 50th percentile male Hybrid III dummy is belted in the driver seat.

The new Rogue is an improvement over the previous generation, which was rated marginal in the small overlap test and acceptable in the roof strength evaluation. The new Rogue offers an optional forward collision warning system, a first for the model. The old Rogue, manufactured since 2008, is still in production and sells as the Nissan Rogue Select.

Police video of ex-NASCAR driver Tyler Walker’s high-speed chase released

Tyler Walker Crash

Even a racing driver isn’t going beat the concerted efforts of the police. That was former NASCAR driver Tyler Walker’s lesson when he was arrested on January 30, 2013, after a high-speed chase over three states. The dash cam video from several officers involved has made it online thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Request to the Utah Highway Patrol, according to Autoweek.

The chase finally stopped when Walker attempted to leave the highway by going the wrong way on an entrance ramp. He attempted to flee on foot but was tackled by police. His charges included evading arrest, driving under the influence, open container, liquor license violation and possession of amphetamines, marijuana and narcotic equipment. He pleaded not guilty and is still awaiting his trial, according to Autoweek.

Walker raced in several NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series races from 2003 to 2007, but in May 2007 he was suspended for violating the sport’s substance abuse policy. He also raced extensively in the World of Outlaws dirt track series. The video edits the hour-and-a-half-long chase down to 11 minutes and switches among officers several times. Scroll down to watch it, but warning: There’s some explicit language.

Mattress knocks man off bicycle, cushions the blow

Mattress Bike

Frequent cyclists know that cars are among of the biggest dangers on the road. Many of drivers aren’t very good at sharing the road, and that’s exactly the case with this pickup driver. To make matters worse, its payload isn’t even properly strapped down. However, that might have saved this rider. It gave him the one-in-a-million shot of getting knocked off his bike one moment and a split-second later lying on a mattress.

The best part might be the guy’s reaction afterward. There is no sound in the video, but it is pretty easy to imagine what is going through his head while he’s sitting there. The rider appears unscathed by the crash, but his bike fate is left somewhat ambiguous. Scroll down to watch; and now that the weather is warming, remember to share the road with cyclists.

Permanent erection lawsuit against BMW thrown out

1994 BMW K1100RS - 05

The California man who claimed that he suffered from a 20-month erection after a four-hour ride on his BMW K1100RS motorcycle (similar model pictured above) has had his case dismissed. It seems the court found his claims too hard to believe.

Henry Wolf filed a product liability lawsuit against BMW and seatmaker Corbin-Pacific in the California Superior Court in April 2012 after he claimed a motorcycle ride in September 2010 caused a long-term case of priapism from the “ridge-like” saddle design. He asked for compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and emotional distress from both companies.

Nearly two years later, according to Visor Down, Judge James J. McBride decided that the case didn’t have enough supporting evidence. A urologist testified that the plaintiff had priapism, but the court rejected the testimony of a neurologist who claimed the motorcycle’s vibration caused the disorder. The defendants presented testimony from the bike’s former and subsequent owners. Corbin-Pacific CEO Mike Corbin also spoke in the company’s defense.

If BMW had been found liable, it’s possible it would’ve found a whole new group of buyers desiring its bikes…

$1.4B hedge fund suit against Porsche dismissed

Volkswagen Seeks Porsche Takeover

Investors have canvassed courts in Europe and the US to repeatedly sue Porsche over its failed attempt to take over Volkswagen in 2008 (see here, and here and here), and they have repeatedly failed to win any cases. You can add another big loss to the tally, with Bloomberg reporting that the Stuttgart Regional Court has dismissed a 1.4-billion euro ($1.95B US) lawsuit, the decision explained by the court’s assertion that the investors would have lost on their short bets even if Porsche hadn’t misled them.

Examining the hedge funds’ motives for stock purchases and the bets that VW share prices would fall, judge Carola Wittig said that the funds didn’t base their decisions on the key bits of “misinformation,” and instead were participating simply in “highly speculative and naked short selling,” only to get caught out.

With other cases still pending, the continued streak of victories bodes well for Porsche’s courtroom fortunes, since judges will expect new information to consider overturning precedent. If there is any new info, it could come from the potential criminal cases still outstanding against former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking and CFO Holger Härter, who were both indicted on charges of market manipulation.

Toyota reaches $1.2B unintended acceleration settlement in criminal probe

Toyota Enters Agreement with U.S. Attorney’s Office Related to 2009-2010 Recalls

NEW YORK, NY, March 19, 2014 – Today, Toyota announced that it reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to resolve its investigation initiated in February 2010 into the communications and decision-making processes related to the company’s 2009-2010 recalls to address potential “sticking” accelerator pedals and floor mat entrapment. As part of the agreement, Toyota will make a payment totaling $1.2 billion.

“At the time of these recalls, we took full responsibility for any concerns our actions may have caused customers, and we rededicated ourselves to earning their trust,” said Christopher P. Reynolds, chief legal officer, Toyota Motor North America. “In the more than four years since these recalls, we have gone back to basics at Toyota to put our customers first.”

Reynolds continued: “We have made fundamental changes across our global operations to become a more responsive company – listening better to our customers’ needs and proactively taking action to serve them.

“Specifically, we have taken a number of steps that have enabled us to enhance quality control, respond more quickly to customer concerns, strengthen regional autonomy and speed decision-making. And, we’re committed to continued improvement in everything we do to keep building trust in our company, our people and our products. Importantly, Toyota addressed the sticky pedal and floor mat entrapment issues with effective and durable solutions, and we stand behind the safety and quality of our vehicles.

“Entering this agreement, while difficult, is a major step toward putting this unfortunate chapter behind us. We remain extremely grateful to our customers who have continued to stand by Toyota. Moving forward, they can be confident that we continue to take our responsibilities to them seriously,” Reynolds concluded.

Among the substantive actions the company has voluntarily taken since the recalls are:

Launching rapid-response teams to investigate customer concerns quickly

Committing $50 million in 2011 to launch Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan to partner with more than 16 universities and institutions across North America on safety advances that will be shared to benefit the entire auto industry and society;

Expanding its network of field quality offices to improve customer responsiveness;

Enhancing regional autonomy, including naming the first American CEO of Toyota’s North American Region as well as Chief Quality Officers for North America and other principal regions – all of whom have direct lines to President Akio Toyoda;

Improving its quality control process; and

Extending the new vehicle development cycle by four weeks to help ensure reliability and safety.

Under the agreement, the Government agrees to defer prosecution and then dismiss its case, as long as Toyota makes the required monetary payment, abides by the terms of the agreement and continues to cooperate with the Government. The agreement also provides for an independent monitor to review policies and procedures relating to Toyota’s safety communications process, its process for internally sharing vehicle accident information and its process for preparing and sharing certain technical reports.

Toyota will record $1.2 billion in after-tax charges against earnings in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2014 for costs relating to the above agreement.

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world’s top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.

Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.

Barra says recalled GM cars ‘safe to drive’ with one big ‘if’

GM Barra

The ongoing investigation into General Motors‘ 1.6-million-car ignition recall continues to pick up steam, with most questions centering on what the company knew and when it knew it. On Tuesday, newly minted CEO Mary Barra held a press conference to directly address questions about GM’s safety problems and their ramifications. In addition to public criticism and potential lawsuits, the business is facing multiple government examinations into how it handled the issue.

During the conference, Barra reportedly said that she first learned about an internal safety investigation in late December and found out that a recall was necessary on January 31. A repair campaign for 778,562 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 models was first announced on February 13 and broadened about a week later to cover more models.

According to The New York Times, during the conference, Barra was asked directly if the affected cars are safe to drive until the ignition switch is replaced. She responded: “If you have just the ring with the key, it is safe to drive.” She spoke to GM engineers about the issue and asked them, “Would you let your wife drive this car? … And they said yes.” The problem, which involves the potential for the ignition to shut off unintentionally (killing engine power and deactivating the airbags), is understood to be exacerbated by large and heavy key rings that place strain on the ignition.

The company has been trying to address this major safety issue head-on. On March 18, it appointed Jeff Boyer to the newly created position of vice president for global vehicle safety. It has also promised loaner vehicles and a $500 cash allowance on a new GM product to affected owners.

The automaker is still facing a hearing in front of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee. Barra said she would speak there if asked, according to the NYT. The company is also preparing a 107-question timeline on the recall for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and conducting an internal investigation. This is clearly far from over, so stay tuned for future developments.

Porsche announces plan to replace 911 GT3 engines

2014 Porsche 911 GT3

About a month back, we reported that Porsche was suspending delivery of its 911 GT3 due to reported incidents of the engine bursting into flames. A few days later, Porsche told owners of the new track-ready models not to drive their cars and had their local dealers pick up the cars in question. Just a couple of days ago, we reported that Porsche was working on a fix, and now we have the official details.

Following an internal investigation prompted by two such incidents, Porsche has confirmed that is has identified the problem as resulting “from a loosened screw joint on the connecting rod.” The loose connecting rod, Porsche found, damaged the crankcase, which in turn resulted in oil leaking and then – in at least two cases – igniting.

Our source is unaware of Porsche being contacted by GT3 owners concerned about the impact of a replacement engine on their car’s collectibility or resale value.

In order to fix the problem, Porsche is replacing the engines entirely on all 785 affected units of the GT3, fitting these new engines (as well as new models to be built once production resumes) with “optimised screw fittings.” Our source at Porsche indicates that under 200 of the affected coupes actually reached customers – most are at port (where they will be fixed prior to reaching showrooms), or at dealers.

We also inquired as to whether Porsche had fielded any calls from concerned GT3 owners regarding the replacement engine’s potential impact on their car’s collectibility or resale value, and our source told us that they have not heard of owners raising any questions. Should such a scenario arise, we were told that, “The company will handle the customers on a case-by-case basis. All of this will be documented in the vehicle’s history file that’s maintained by Porsche.” Presumably, if there is clear and extensive official paper trail about the engine swap, would-be used GT3 buyers and collectors would be happier knowing their car is fitted with a correct, trouble-free engine than they are about not having a numbers-matching car.

It is not immediately clear what Porsche plans to do with the hundreds of recalled GT3 engines once it extracts them.

Related Gallery2014 Porsche 911 GT3

2014 Porsche 911 GT32014 Porsche 911 GT32014 Porsche 911 GT32014 Porsche 911 GT32014 Porsche 911 GT32014 Porsche 911 GT32014 Porsche 911 GT32014 Porsche 911 GT3

Analyses completed:
Porsche to replace engines of current 911 GT3 models

Stuttgart. Sports car manufacturer Porsche will be replacing the engines of all 911 GT3* vehicles of model year 2014. This is the corrective action derived from intensive internal analyses that were initiated in response to two engine fires. Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that engine damage resulted from a loosened screw joint on the connecting rod. The loose connecting rod damaged the crankcase, which in both cases led to leakage of oil which then ignited.

After becoming aware of the two cases, Porsche promptly took action to avoid any risk to customers by advising them to cease using the affected 785 vehicles until further notice and have them picked up by a Porsche Centre. Now, engines with optimised screw fittings will be used in all Porsche 911 GT3 vehicles of model year 2014 – including in those that have not been delivered yet. The relevant Porsche Centres are in direct communication with customers worldwide to discuss the further course of action.

Porsche points out that no other 911 models or other model series are affected by this action.

*Porsche model series 911 GT3: Fuel consumption combined 12,4 l/100 km; CO2-emission 289 g/km; efficiency class: G

Zolonz & Associates Now Specialize In Lemon Law

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“The California court system takes breaches of warranty very seriously,” said Adam Zolonz, representative for the law firm. “We make it our mission to help clients protect their rights under the lemon law.”

(PRWEB) March 17, 2014

Lemon laws are a set of consumers rights when purchasing a wide range of consumer goods, but they mainly apply to the purchase or a lease of an automobile. The manufacturer is responsible for the repair of mechanical problems as stated in the warranty in a reasonable amount of time. If, however, the motor vehicle is not fixed, than the consumer is entitled for an equivalent replacement or a refund.

Although both state and federal laws have been protecting consumers under the lemon laws since 1975, it is often difficult for individuals to know the full legal details to receive full restitution for their mechanical issues. Therefore, Zolonz Associates can help consumers file a lemon law claim if they feel their vehicle manufacturer failed to repair their vehicle in due time to their satisfaction.

Zolonz Associates is a full-service Los Angeles law firm providing a wide range of legal services, and representing a broad client base, from major corporations to individuals. The firm specializes in Plaintiff’s consumer litigation under the California lemon law.

The firm’s founder, Adam Zolonz, created a business model as an alternative to the traditional law firm. Zolonz Associates offers the same quality representation that clients expect from the nation’s largest firms, without the billing rates associated with those firms. The firm provides top firm expertise alongside personalized treatment that the big firms simply cannot provide.

For more information about Zolonz Associates, and the services they provide, call 310.247.8230, or visit their website at http://zolonzassociates.com.

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