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Nissan Recalls Over 200,000 Vehicles

Oct 16, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

Nissan Motor Company announced yesterday that it was recalling over 200,000 vehicles in the United States and overseas to repair a sensor system, the Associated Press (AP) reports.  The sensor involved could affect the car's passenger side air bag and includes 140,000 Nissan Altima cars from the 2007-2008 model years as well as the Infiniti EX35, G35 Sedan, G37, Nissan 350Z, Murano, and Rogue, also from the 2007-2008 model years.

According to the AP, “Nissan spokesman Colin Price said there have been no injuries or crashes, and the company discovered the problem during internal testing.”  While the majority of the recalled vehicles are in the United States, some are in Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Persian Gulf.  The recall affects those vehicles equipped with “Continental Automotive Systems' Occupant Classification System control units,” according to Nissan.  It seems that an electronic component in the control unit, which is located in the passenger seat cushion, may have been manufactured “out of specification,” according to the AP.  This manufacturing defect could interrupt a signal in the sensor system, which could prevent the passenger air bag from deploying under certain conditions.  The recall is expected to begin in early November.

Earlier this year we reported that in December 2007 Nissan North America recalled 696,600 Altima and Sentra sedans that had a faulty engine part that could overheat and cause the engine to stall.  Also around that time, Toyota Motor Corporation experienced some serious issues with reliability, recalling about 10 percent of its Tundra pickup trucks and more than 500,000 of its Sequoia SUVs.  These recalls are significant because Toyota has been pushing hard to break into the highly profitable large-vehicle market.  Meanwhile, last October, Consumer Reports demoted Toyota to third from first in its vehicle reliability rankings, dropping the Camry, Tundra, and Lexus GS from its list of recommended vehicles. Consumer Reports said it would no longer automatically recommend redesigned Toyota vehicles.

Overall, the number of vehicles recalled increased more than 25 percent in 2007 with 14.2 million vehicles recalled last year, an increase of 11.2 million in 2006, according to preliminary figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The increase is mainly due to Ford Motor Company, which recalled 5.5 million vehicles in 2007, mostly for a cruise-control-deactivation switch problem the automaker has been dealing with for years.  GM also recalled 537,992 vehicles as of December 21st, Honda Motor Co. recalled 547,215 vehicles, and Volkswagen of America recalled 1.5 million vehicles, mostly by expanding a parts recalls used in multiple vehicles.

GM had 18 recall campaigns in 2007 covering 537,992 vehicles in all.  Volkswagen of America has had a major jump in recalls in the last two years, largely because of a single defective part used across many vehicles.  The recalls this year included 790,000 vehicles for a faulty brake-light switch.  The part, used in several vehicles, was from a single supplier and shows how extensive a recall from one faulty part can be.

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