Originally published October 3 2014
Suzuki recalls nearly 20,000 cars due to spider infestations that can cause fuel tanks to catch fire
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) Both Suzuki and Mazda have been plagued by a weird scenario that makes many of their new vehicles vulnerable to fuel tank fire hazards. But to their credit, those cars have been recalled to fix the issues that have created the fire hazards.
And those hazards are created by spider web infestations in fuel vent lines that can block venting and cause fuel tank back pressures powerful enough to crack the gas tanks.
Suzuki, which no longer markets their vehicles in the USA, promises to replace blocked fuel vent systems on any of the 19,249 2010-2012 Kizashi sport sedans along with a few 2013 models. The attacks from tiny spiders have also plagued Mazda, especially with its mid-size Mazda6.
An earlier recall for the same tiny spiders webs reason involved 65,000 Mazda6 2010, '11 and '12 models. Now there's a recall for up to 42,000 Mazda6 models with 2.5 liter engines made from September 14, 2009 through May 2, 2011.
It's almost automatic to assume that these spiders are from Japan or the ships involved with bringing them over. But Mazdas intended for the U.S. market are manufactured in Flint, Michigan, in cooperation with Ford Motors.
Both manufacturers voluntarily reported these flaws with their decisions to fix them to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). But this type of automotive manufacturer concern hasn't always been the norm.
A 1999 movie called Fight Club had the protagonist, played by Edward Norton, who works as an auto recall specialist, lament in voice-over how recalls are made or not made based on the bottom line: Which costs less, settling damage claims or recalling vehicles and fixing the problems? Well, that's based on reality.
The earlier history of hazardous vehicles among American auto makersIt seems that the largest hazard that initiates large automobile and truck recalls centers around fuel tanks. This became a subject of notoriety that forever tainted the image of an otherwise decent economy car that was rushed into production by Lee Iacocca when he was with Ford Motors, the Ford Pinto.
The rush proved fatal not only to several burn victims who suffered from minor rear-end collisions but to Ford itself.
Lee Iacocca pushed production even after testing showed that the Pinto had a fuel tank weakness that was vulnerable to being rear-ended by other vehicles. He pushed for production despite the obvious flaw, because retooling proved too expensive and time was short.
Sales of foreign sub-compacts were winning over buyers that were concerned over rising fuel costs, and U.S. car makers were losing the battle for that market.
Investigative reporter Mark Dowie reported in a 1977 Mother Jones article how Ford Motors managed to keep those unsafe Pintos on the road for seven years while paying large settlements or losing cases to victims or the relatives of deceased burn victims.
Estimates on burn issue deaths from the fiery Pintos range from 500 to 900 over the period from 1969 to 1977. Many others who survived fiery accidents wound up permanently scarred. All during that time, Ford managed to lie and lobby to avoid recalls and replacements.
Ford even had a patent on a safer fuel system that they refused to use. It wasn't until 1977 that Ford complied with safety standards to prevent future fuel line tragedies.
Why? From that 1977 Mother Jones Mark Dowie article: "Ford waited eight years because its internal 'cost-benefit analysis,' which places a dollar value on human life, said it wasn't profitable to make the changes sooner." So there you are. Sometimes movies do share a bit of harsh reality.
It seems that General Motors' Corvair had some issues with its first-time USA-built air-cooled rear engine suspensions resulting in drivers losing control more easily than usual. That was GM's bid to take U.S. market share from Volkswagen. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader earned a reputation with his book Unsafe at Any Speed about the GM Corvair's issues.
Nader's congressional testimonies on the automotive industry's hazardous production led to the formation of the earlier mentioned NHTSA, a federal agency that purports to investigate automotive hazards and enforce safety standards compliance.
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