A Senate committee said some automakers are selling new vehicles with defective Takata airbag inflators that one day will need to be recalled. And they apparently are not breaking any rules. Why and how this is happening gets a bit convoluted, so interested parties should read this from the New York Times:
Ford announced it is recalling another 1.9 million vehicles that have defective passenger side Takata airbag inflators. The vehicles affected by this Takata action are 2007-2010 Ford Edge, 2006-2011 Ford Fusion, 2005-2011 Ford Mustang, 2007-2011 Ford Ranger, 2007-2010 Lincoln MKX and 2006-2011 Lincoln MKZ, Zephyr, Mercury Milan and 2005-2006 Ford GT vehicles built in North America.
Ford said it is not aware of any injuries associated with these passenger side front inflators. Driver side airbag inflators in these vehicles are not included in this recall.
Elon Musk told Fortune that the final design for the Tesla 3, more affordable electric, will be complete in about six weeks. That’s the one expected to sell for about $35K. Motor Trend has an extensive report on Tesla in the latest issue.
A few more notes on May auto sales;
Overall volume fell 6.1 percent Automotive News said, and that is the largest monthly setback in nearly six years. Still, when measured by one metric, sales are on a par with last year.
Many makers cited two fewer selling days for the reduction, while others cited parts delays caused by the Japanese earthquakes.
But not everyone was in the red. Hyundai reported a 12 percent sales increase versus one year ago thanks to demand for the Tucson, Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport. Volvo was up just over 10 percent.
Honda sales were down 4.8 percent while Toyota sales fell 9.6 percent. Kia sales posted a modest increase while Subaru rose 1.1 percent.
New car transaction prices jumped more than 3 percent to $33,845, according to Kelley Blue Book. New car prices are up 3.5 percent from May of last year.
The MIT AgeLab has released a study on how people feel about autonomous cars and new technology in their vehicle. “Penetration of fully automated vehicles into the mobility space is going to take time and will vary greatly across different regions of the world. These disruptive innovations have enormous potential to enhance mobility however, the trust to adopt these technologies is not yet here and will need to be built slowly over time,” said Bryan Reimer, Research Scientist MIT AgeLab and Associate Director of the New England University Transportation Center.
“The survey results suggest there may be some hesitation about one’s comfort with full automation among the older adult population who could benefit the most. The survey suggests that only 1 in 7 respondents 65 or older would be comfortable with fully automated vehicles” he said.
Nearly 3,000 people took the survey. Only 40 percent of drivers in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket have any interest in full autonomy. In nearly every other age bracket (16 to 24, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, 65 to 74 and 75-plus), interest in fully-autonomous technology is as low as 12.7 percent.
Yet more than 50% of the older adult market appear comfortable with the concept of technological innovations that help the driver.
Backers said auto makers and dealers need to do a better job explaining how safety and information technologies work. More than half of survey participants said they figured out how things worked by trial and error.