ACtion Magazine - September/October 2011 - (Page 16)
Japanese new vehicle output falls for many
As the numbers trickled in, the effects of March’s natural disaster in Japan became clearer. Production numbers for May indicated huge drops in vehicle output for several Japanese nameplates while a small group actually increased production because their plants and suppliers were mostly out of harm’s way. Within the country, Toyota and Honda took big hits, with domestic production 46.5 and 53.4 percent respectively below their outputs a year ago. In other words, about half the normal number. Others suffering reduced output are Mazda (-11.8%) and Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru, -39.4%). Surprisingly, Nissan actually increased its in-country production by almost one percent, and Mitsubishi climbed nearly
eight percent. Both companies have extensive international manufacturing facilities as well, and in May both increased their worldwide production by double-digit percentages. The companies losing production in Japan also saw their international output fall significantly, often due to component availability. Later, but incomplete data for June shows production still down against the previous year but increasing more rapidly than expected. Industry watchers are surprised by the quick recovery, and are now touting a strong last quarter of the year for many brands.
In California, plaintiff Kerry O’Shea brought suit against Ford Motor Company, alleging that the company built and sold vehicles that “are defective because defendant used an excessive amount of Nocolok flux in the design, manufacture and assembly of the air conditioner system evaporator cores, thereby creating an unreasonable health and safety risk ...” Mr. O’Shea’s attorneys filed for the case to become a class action on behalf of owners of all Ford vehicles with affected evaporators. The eight-count lawsuit, filed in October, 2010, alleges that as early as 2001 Ford was aware of a condition in which white flakes would be blown from dash vents after a short period of A/C use. Several TSBs have been issued on the matter. The plate-and-fin evaporators in question are welded using a controlled atmosphere brazing (CAB) process. Prior to brazing, a gap filler made of flux (a fine white powder) and deionized water, is applied to joints and seams. The Nocolok flux used in the process is made by Solvay corporation. The plaintiff states that Ford knowingly used excessive flux and that the resultant flakes are extremely hazardous to human health. According to the complaint, “exposure to and inhalation of the flux is extremely dangerous and can result in the development of several diseases ...” In response, Ford presented a strong
defense showing that it was aware of the problem early and moved quickly to investigate and solve it through both manufacturing changes and field repairs via TSBs. Ford presented certifications from Solvay that the chemicals in question are non-toxic under both EPA and DOT regulations, and that the amount of exposure to an occupant was “negligible and trivial.” Ford further stated that in their investigations they identified other possible sources of white flakes besides the flux and that the plaintiff offered no proof that the flakes he observed were from the flux instead of another source. In early August, no final judgment had been issued, but in late July Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen indicated she would most likely dismiss the proposed class action because the plaintiff had provided no evidence worthy of a trial.
About your wheels
Pass this one to your kids or the kid next door. The Car Care Council Women’s Board (WB) is calling for teens to “Show Us Your Wheels” for a chance to win an iPod. In a video no longer than three minutes, the Women’s Board wants to know why you (the teen) are passionate about your vehicle and how you maintain it. To enter, post a video to YouTube and fill out the Automotive Communications Awards (ACA) form, on the Women’s Board website at http://women.carcare. org. There is no charge for entries and the deadline is Friday, Sept. 30, 2011.
Northern buys Tanks ‘n Tabs
Northern Factory Sales Inc. of Willmar Minnesota has announced the recent acquisition and merger of Tanks ‘N Tabs in Nashville, Tennessee. Northern also emphasized that Joe McGovern and his staff will remain in place after the merger closed on July 25th. Tanks ‘N Tabs, a successful distributor of radiators and related products, has now become Northern of Nashville. Northern Factory Sales has 15 warehouse locations throughout the U.S. and will
Reader Reply No. 6 16 ACTION • September/October 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - September/October 2011
ACtion Magazine - September/October 2011
Table of Contents
Under The Southern Cross
News & Updates
Performance Always Needs More Cooling
ACDelco’s Guidelines for Replacing Engine Coolant
New Member Profile: Alex Original, Ltd
New Products & Services
ACtion Magazine - September/October 2011