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10 million vehicles recalled for new, but same, Takata airbag issues

A deployed airbag is seen in a 2001 Honda Accord at the LKQ Pick Your Part salvage yard on May 22, 2015 in Medley, Florida.

Photo by Getty Images

The latest round of Takata airbag recalls adds insult to injury. In a document issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the government acknowledged that the latest round of recalls is for approximately 10 million vehicles that have already been recalled and allegedly repaired.

How does this happen? It has come to light that during the initial rounds of the recall Takata replaced the old, dangerous inflators with new versions of the same thing with the same design and chemistry. Yes, you read that right.

Takata air bag recall Angelina Sujata (2nd L) tells the story of how she was injured three years ago by a defective Takata airbag during a news conference with (L-R) Rep. Diane DeGette (D-CO), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) outside the U.S. Capitol June 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. Photo by Getty Images

There are 14 U.S. brands impacted by the announcement including Audi, BMW, Honda, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ferrari, General Motors, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

Some automakers got a jump on the report and have been working to re-recall their vehicles for months now.

According to the NHTSA, over 38 million vehicles have been repaired as part of the larger Takata recall event. NHTSA estimates that there are nearly 13 million defective parts still installed in vehicles as of this past November.

To find out if your model is impacted by the recall, visit the NHTSA website and enter your car's vehicle identification number (VIN).

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The Ford Mustang Mach-E did not perform as well as the Volvo XC40 Recharge in IIHS testing.

Photo courtesy of IIHS

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has released the results of its latest round of crash testing, which includes two new-to-market electric vehicles (EVs), the 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge and 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Volvo earned a Top Safety Pick+ designation while the Ford got a Top Safety Pick award.

The 2021 XC40 Recharge joins the Audi E-Tron, Audi E-Tron Sportback, and Tesla Model 3, all EVs, that have received 2021 Top Safety Pick+ designation.

"It's fantastic to see more proof that these vehicles are as safe as or safer than gasoline- and diesel-powered cars," says IIHS President David Harkey. "We can now say with confidence that making the U.S. fleet more environmentally friendly doesn't require any compromises in terms of safety."

2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge IIHS crash test

Photo courtesy of IIHS

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In order to earn a 2021 Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must get all Good ratings in each of the six IIHS crashworthiness tests — driver- and passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. Winners must also be available with Good or Acceptable headlights and a front crash prevention system that earns Advanced or Superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

To qualify as a Top Safety Pick+ award winner, vehicles must come with Good or Acceptable headlights across all trim levels and packages in addition to the Top Safety Pick criteria.

The XC40 Recharge's adaptive LED reflector headlights, which are installed on every XC40 Recharge model. The SUV's standard front crash prevention system also earns Superior and Advanced scores in the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to- pedestrian evaluations, respectively.

Ford sells the Mustang Mach-E with Good-rated LED projector headlights on Premium, GT, and First Edition trim levels. However, LED reflector headlights that are on the Mustang Mach-E Select and California Route 1 grades are rated as Marginal, which prevented the Mustang from earning the top-tier rating. IIHS found that these headlights provided inadequate illumination around curves.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E IIHS crash test

Photo courtesy of IIHS

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The Mach-E's standard front crash prevention system earned Superior ratings in both the vehicle- to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

A recent study of electric and internal combustion engine vehicles from 2011 to 2019 by the IIHS-affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that rates of injury claims related to the drivers and passengers of electric vehicles were more than 40 percent lower than for identical conventional models over 2011-19.

HLDI points to the weight of EVs as being one of the key drivers of this statistic. Large batteries that are required to run EVs are substantially heavier than traditional powertrain components. Occupants of heavier vehicles are exposed to lower forces in multi-vehicle crashes.

The XC40 Recharge has a curb weight of 4,787 pounds, compared with 3,811 pounds for the conventional model. The Mustang Mach-E weighs 4,516 pounds.

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The Chevrolet Silverado is the second-best-selling truck in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Chevorlet

The global semiconductor chip shortage is affecting General Motors vehicles and that's directly making an impact the wallets of Chevy truck buyers.

Certain 2021 Chevrolet Silverado models will be built without a fuel management module, which will directly impact their fuel economy performance, making the trucks one mile per gallon less efficient. A spokesperson for GM told Reuters that the company does not expect the change to make a major impact on the Detroit-based automaker's U.S. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) numbers.

The active fuel management module issue will occur only on light-duty Silverados equipped with the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine. That engine is available with either a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission.

2021 Chevrolet Silverado For the 2021 model year, the Chevrolet Silverado gained GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate under a new name. Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Currently, trucks with that engine get between 16 and 19 mpg combined depending on drivetrain configuration, as estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The government agency estimates that some Silverado owners with the engine spend as mochas $4,500 more on fuel over five years than the average new vehicle buyer.

New Silverado 1500s are either equipped with a 28.3- or 24-gallon fuel tank, depending on the buyer's choice of cab. The average price of fuel in the U.S. right now according to AAA is $2.86 per gallon for regular unleaded. Doing some simple math using those numbers, the lack of chip would cost the average Silverado owner around $3.00 more at the pump per fill up.

For the average family, that number may be absorbable. For fleet managers that are already struggling to save every cent in the wake of the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, that figure may be a tougher pill to swallow.

By continuing to build trucks, Chevrolet will likely escape some of the plant shut downs and slowdowns other automakers have experienced. Chevrolet's chief rival, Ford, shut down its Louisville plant for two weeks in January and February hindering production of the F-150, the Silverado's biggest competitor and America's best-selling vehicle.

With Ford truck shortages on dealership lots, Chevy may be hoping that this build strategy will keep their dealerships stocked and perhaps sway customers into becoming bowtie owners.

The company has not made it clear if the chips, once available, will be able to be installed into the engines of the vehicles that are missing them. If they are able to be installed, it's also unclear if that the customer or GM would absorb that cost, and whether or not a recall notice would be issued to add the chips.

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