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Santa's Top Ten Naughty List for the Automotive World

Dec 24, 2015


As the holiday season is upon us and Christmas is only days away, we know that many of you parents enjoy the time of year where threats of ending up on the naughty list and Santa watching their good or bad behavior help you control even the most difficult of children.  While we’re sure most of your kids have been saints this year, eagerly awaiting their gifts under the tree, Santa’s also kept a close eye on the auto industry, and this year there are quite a few CEOs and auto companies who will be getting lumps of coal in their stockings.  Check out which companies made Santa’s top ten Naughty List for the 2015 season!  


1. Volkswagen is at the top of Santa’s naughty list for one very simple reason.   What they did was intentional and it was done to cheat emissions standards for their vehicles across the globe.  Not only that, their marketing extremely mislead their loyal customers who were happy to be owning environmentally friendly vehicles that were actually polluting the environment twice as much as any other vehicle. VW is facing a scandal on three fronts: In addition to the NOx emissions-cheating software, the automaker has admitted understating CO2 ratings on about 800,000 vehicles. U.S. regulators have also targeted 85,000 VW, Audi and Porsche models with 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engines fitted with emissions-control equipment that was not properly disclosed.  Because of government investigation findings, Volkswagen has been ordered to recall about 11 million cars globally that contain software that can fool official tests for nitrogen oxide emissions.  South Korea alone has given them a 12.31 million dollar fine and is ordering a recall of 125,522 vehicles.  VW has set aside 7.1 billion dollars to right their wrong, and lucky for them because they’re going to need it.   Pretty soon their TDI line will be TCI… swapping out their diesel for coal, which is all they are getting from Santa this year.  

2. Takata: Charged with “deflating Christmas spirits” at the heart of what is becoming the largest safely recall in automotive history, this Japanese auto supplier have been ordered to replace air bags in more than 40 million vehicles.  These faulty airbags run an unacceptably high risk of rupturing when they deploy, a defect that’s killed eight and injured about 100 motorists.  Apparently the company ignored concerns from employees about misleading and manipulated data prodded to Honda about its airbag inflators as early as 2000.  The USA and Japan have banned Takata airbag inflators that use ammonium nitrate propellant from future cars and have set time frames to phase out existing ones.  Ford, Toyota, and Honda have banned the use of them in their vehicles as well.  

3. General Motors’ has been on the naughty list all year long, especially with endless lawsuits regarding their ignition switch issues.  They have been working around the clock to fix this issue and an independent fund set up to compensate victims of accidents involving faulty ignition switches said it awarded $594.5 million and approved 399 death and injury claims.

Among hundreds of thousands of other recalls for the 2015 year, here are a few additional reasons why GM has been very bad this year: 

• GM recalled1.4 million older vehicles in its third major attempt to fix a defect that can cause the engine to catch fire.

• GM recalled nearly 200,000 older model Hummer SUVs, mainly in the United States, to fix problems that have led to 42 vehicle fires and three people being burned.

• GM recalled about 64,000 Chevrolet Volts from the 2011-13 model years for a software update to limit how long the car can be left idling, a move to prevent carbon monoxide buildup when a driver forgets to shut off the vehicle.

4. Fiat Chrysler hit the naughty list this year with a 70 million fine for failing to report claims of death and injury to the U.S. auto safety regulators, as required by law.  Santa's Elfs (The National Highway Traffic Safety Admission) had discovered in September of 2015 that the company had a significant under-reporting of crash related deaths and injuries possibly linked to vehicle defects as required under the TREAD Act.  If Fiat Chrysler fails to pay the fine, they face up to another $35 million in penalties.  Not only that, they also had to recall 121,000 Dodge Darts, mostly in the U.S. for a glitch that could lead to braking problems.  


What else has Fiat Chrysler done this year to make Santa sad?  How about recalling nearly 900,000 vehicles around the world to fix issues related to airbag deployment and anti-lock braking systems, about 1.73 million trucks for defects including a wiring harness that may short-circuit and set off an airbag, and more than 140,000 light trucks and SUVs in two voluntary recalls to address potential safety concerns.

5. Ford hasn’t been too bad this year, but issues in your cars that affect steering and can cause potential fires is enough to get you on Santa’s bad side.  They recalled 451,865 Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans from the 2010 and 2011 model years to fix a potential fuel tank problem that could lead to a fire and about 12,300 2015 F-150 pickups in North America because of a faulty upper I-shaft that may separate, which can cause a loss of steering.

6. Toyota Motor Corp. recalled about 6.5 million vehicles worldwide to fix power-window switches that may short circuit and potentially lead to a fire plus an additional 112,500 vehicles in the US due to possible safety issues.  They definitely did their part in the Takata airbag recalls, which may put them back on the nice list this year. 

7. Hyundai, Santa insists that cars need to stop and steer.  On that note there was a recall of nearly 305,000 vehicles in the U.S. to replace the brake pedal stopper pad, and 204,768 Elantras because of a power steering defect that might cause the cars to suddenly revert to manual steering.  Oh, and lets not forget the recall of 470,000 Sonata sedans in the United States to replace faulty engine parts.  Shame on you.  

8. Santa wants drivers to be in safe cars this holiday season.  Despite Subaru’s reputation for being the safest vehicles on the road, they recalled 72,000 newer-model vehicles in the U.S. because the automatic pre-collision braking part of the driver-assist system could fail, increasing the risk of a crash.  Later they Subaru of America is recalling nearly 200,000 vehicles for a second time in the United States to fix brake lines that may leak fluid due to corrosion from salty, wintery roads, which could lead to longer stopping distances and increase the risk of a crash.

9. BMW recalled 86,018 Mini Coopers after an investigation into a steering glitch on the vehicles prompted U.S. regulators to recommend a recall.  Looks like Santa wasn’t the only one watching you this year.  

10. Kia’s been naughty in the most interesting way…   They’ve recalled 377,000 Sorentos because of a transmission glitch that can cause the crossover to roll while parked...  a defect (and visual) that will now cause me to take an extended look at any Sorento I see in a parking lot simply because I feel like I need to see this because just like Santa, its pretty hard to believe.  We just hope your family and holiday packages were out of the vehicle before this ever happened.  And while chestnuts roasting on an open fire may sound really wonderful this time of year, drivers don’t want to roast in their vehicles.  This year Kia has also recalled 86,880 Forte sedans in the US because a cooling fan resistor may overheat and melt, increasing the risk of a fire.


Check out Santa's NICE List:  The Most Well Behaved Automakers of 2015


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