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APA in the News - Archive
CBC News- Joanne Levasseur and Katie Nicholson December 7, 2016. Millions of Vehicles with Potentially Dangerous Recalls Still On Road
Millions of vehicles in Canada, an estimated one in six, have an outstanding safety recall, and auto industry experts say not enough is being done to fix them.
These include cars with safety defects that may result in crashes, injury or death, according to the manufacturers.
"It's just this complete circle of finger-pointing that's going on, and nobody's taking responsibility for the issue," said Kevin MacDonald, an Ottawa car dealer who is fed up with government and manufacturer inaction.
CBC News checked 200 vehicles currently for sale across Canada and found about one-sixth had recalls that remain unfixed or open...
There's nothing stopping Canadian dealerships from selling a car with an open recall. No provinces mandate that a car with an open recall must be repaired prior to registration, and safety or mechanical inspections do not require open recalls to be fixed...
The problem is that many Canadians don't even know their cars have defects. In a report released last week, Transport Canada told the Office of the Auditor General that manufacturers had difficulty identifying and contacting owners of recalled cars — especially in the case of older vehicles that may have changed hands...
Even owners of relatively new cars don't know about some recalls. Crystal Taillefer of La Broquerie, Man., is a case in point. She has lived at the same address since the day she bought her 2011 Dodge Journey brand new from the dealer.
Until CBC News told her, she had no idea that a recall had been initiated for a power steering hose defect that could cause a crash without warning.
"It kind of upsets me that I didn't hear about this for well over six months — and from somebody who's not the manufacturer," said Taillefer.
She knows her address is on file with her dealer. She has the Christmas cards and advertisements it sent her to prove it.
George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association said he has heard of other cases in which manufacturers' advertisements are reaching owners, but safety recalls are not.
"It's incredible, but the recall notice department of the car maker might not be speaking with the automaker's other databases," said Iny. "They're bringing people in for a spring special or for a deal on a brand new car, but safety notices — they do the bare minimum."...
Canadian law requires manufacturers to contact owners when there is a recall. They also must report the repair completion rates to Transport Canada. Unlike in the US, completion rates are not made public.
"It's the manufacturer's responsibility to make sure that you get as high a response rate to the recalls that they issue," said David Adams, president of the Global Automakers of Canada, a group that represents car makers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan. "And I know manufacturers are going to extremes to try and do that."
Over at the Automobile Protection Association, George Iny isn't buying that. He doesn't think manufacturers are doing everything they can.
"They're cheap, and they're not motivated to bring these cars in [compliance] in all cases, so they'll tolerate low correction rates," said Iny...
Dealer feels stuck in the middle
Car owners aren't the the only people with trouble keeping a handle on open recalls. The people who sell vehicles are also frustrated.
Ontario car dealer Kevin MacDonald wrote to his industry association about toughening the laws around open recalls and better informing the public about defects. The industry association pointed him to the province. The province directed him to the federal government which directed him back to the province.
"All of these people agree with the severity of the issue," MacDonald said, "but they all would prefer to point at another party."...
APA - Gerorge Iny November 11, 2016. Remembering Clarence Ditlow
American auto safety crusader, and APA Board Member, Clarence Ditlow, passed away on November 10, of cancer. APA Executive Director, George Iny, recounts Clarence's influences and acheivements in the North American auto industry. Read the article here.
New York Times: Clarence M. Ditlow III, Auto Safety Crusader, Dies at 72
Autoblog: Center for Auto Safety Executive Director Clarence Ditlow dies
Global News- Anne Drewa November 10, 2016. Toyota customer driven to frustration waiting for replacement airbag
A Vancouver Island man says he’s been driving his car in fear for 15 months.
Geoff Fawcett says he’s been waiting to get his 2007 Toyota Corolla repaired after receiving a recall notice from Toyota Canada in July 2015. His car needs a replacement airbag, part of the massive worldwide recall of defective Takata airbags. The notice warns of the front passenger airbag inflator potentially rupturing, sending metal shrapnel that could result in injury, even death.
To minimize the risk, Toyota Canada is recommending passengers sit in the back seat until notified.
“I feel very unsafe. You don’t know if you’ll have a little bump and metal fragments are going to come out at you. I mean they could even come my way as well as the passenger,” says Fawcett.
George Iny with The Automobile Protection Association says “the likelihood of an unintended airbag deployment or a deployment with too much force is considered remote in Canada.” Still, he says Toyota should be doing more for its customers. “I think it would have helped if we had more clarity with what they were prepared to do.”
CBC - Yvonne Colbert November 10, 2016. Federal department investigating other Ford models, pursuing new recall legislation
Transport Canada has identified a safety issue with brakes in certain Ford F-150 trucks and is asking Canadians who own the vehicles to contact the department if they've had problems.
This comes as the department is already probing unrelated safety issues in some other Ford models. It is also pursuing new legislation that could force companies to recall defective vehicles.
In a release, Transport Canada said it has made "a preliminary determination that there is a safety defect" involving brakes on 2011 and 2012 F-150 trucks equipped with a 3.5L EcoBoost engine.
The department has received over 100 complaints involving a failed electric vacuum pump in the power brake system, which it says "may result in an unexpected longer stopping distance..."
Ottawa cannot order recall
Lee-Gracey also said Ford provided an extended warranty program for all vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, one that covers the electric vacuum pump for 10 years or 240,000 kilometres.
George Iny, executive director of the Automobile Protection Association, an independent vehicle consumer advocacy group, is one of those who supports stronger government power when it comes to vehicle safety.
"In Canada, people think we have recall legislation, but actually it's a notice of defect," Iny told CBC News.
"The law allows the government to require a carmaker to send you a letter that your vehicle could be dangerous or cause injury or death. It doesn't actually empower them to order a recall per se."...
Not the only Ford probe
"This is a pattern at Ford in the last five or six years," Iny said, adding, "We don't get it."
He said the company used to have "a culture of caring," and the lack of concern is puzzling.
"They're letting things sort of get away," Iny said. "Maybe it's being driven simply by monetary concerns over their reputation or perhaps [monetary concerns] over a safety issue and it is worrisome for us."
Transport Canada has 17 active defect investigations underway, eight of them involving Ford vehicles.
CTV - Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston November 7, 2016. Ford owner fears for her safety after serious car malfunction
Kristen Chafe bought her 2014 Ford Edge because she thought it would be a dependable, sturdy vehicle. But the car only had about 23,000 kilometres on it when a major component... blew apart. Fortunately she'd pulled over just in time.
"All of a sudden I had a plume of smoke just exploded from my car," said Chafe
The power transfer unit, or PTU, which directs power to the wheels in all-wheel drives, had completely split in two.
George Iny with the Automobile Protection Association says Ford has known about problems.
"It’s a significant issue," he said. “The designs vary and this particular one seems to be undersized or under designed for the vehicles in which it is in"
Ford never responded to our questions about a possible defect either, only stating "there are no recalls open on the 2014 Edge for issues relating to this customer's concern."
Transport Canada told CTV News it has received complaints of leaks and poor performing Ford power transfer units, but added the complaints do not appear to have the characteristics of a safety defect issue.
So who's calling it a defect? Iny, for one.
"We are,” said Iny. “I do see a weakness in that unit absolutely because they are failing and it's expensive."
Iny says Ford should at least notify owners and offer extended warranties. Chafe’s warranty was extended but she wants greater assurances.
"They replaced the PTU but will this happen again?" questioned Chafe, "I don't feel safe."
The Automobile Protection Association says consequences could have been much more serious if Chafe had been driving at highway speeds when the failure happened.
PTU units could cost as much as $3,000 to replace.
CBC - Falice Chin November 7, 2016. Man alleges Calgary used-car dealer hid past damages, insurance claims
An Alberta man is warning others about the practices at a major used-car dealer in Calgary after buying a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 with $37,538 in past insurance claims, which he says were undisclosed.
"I was told three times, maybe four times, 'perfect condition,'" said Eric LaPlante, who bought the truck from the Gallery of Fine Cars last fall for $33,995.
LaPlante said he found out about the truck's checkered past months later, when he took it to an appraiser at an official Dodge dealership.
The Automobile Protection Association — a consumer rights group started by Phil Edmonston, author of the Lemon Aid guides — says it's time for Alberta to introduce stricter rules for used-car dealers.
"Once it's past the curb, [car dealers] will do everything possible not to compensate you for their mistakes," said George Iny, executive director of the organization.
In Alberta, used-car dealers are not required by law to show third-party car history reports such as CarProof or CarFax to prospective buyers. But companies can still get in trouble for hiding previous damages.
November 7, 2016. 'Arm-twisting' more likely at Alberta used car dealerships, consumer advocates say
The Automobile Protection Association (APA) says Alberta needs to tighten the rules on how used car dealers advertise and sell their vehicles.
On Monday the Calgary Eyeopener shared the story of Eric LaPlante who was left in the dark about the vehicle's nearly $40,000 history of damage that was never disclosed to him. Although the Gallery of Fine Cars in Calgary, where he bought the car, disagrees.
George Iny, executive director for the APA, shared his buyer-beware tips and warns of arm-twisting tactics.
CBC News - Yvonne Colbert October 31, 2016. 'Significant' number of problems with some Ford models prompts federal probe
Transport Canada is investigating a "significant" number of concerns over Ford Focus and Fiesta models after owners reported their cars acted erratically, in some cases jerking forward or stopping suddenly.
The federal department opened what it calls a "defect investigation" in February 2016. As of Oct. 20, it had received complaints from 128 Canadians about the transmission in some 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta and 2012-2016 Ford Focus vehicles.
One of those complainants is Jordan Bonaparte, a Halifax man who bought a new Focus in early 2013 as he and his wife awaited the birth of their son.
"I don't think it's safe to be on the road," he said.
The Globe and Mail - Jason Tchir October 24, 2016. Insurance changes make fine print more important than ever
After a near-fatal accident, Adam Bari discovered his insurance coverage had shrunk, just 12 hours previously, from $2 million to $86,000
You were told earlier this year of big new changes to Ontario’s auto insurance policies coming into effect in June. It was all over the media and your insurance company would have contacted you. We are inundated with information proclaiming to be the “most important” and “don’t miss this,” and I really have no idea how to cut through the clatter and clutter, only that we must find a way.
Insurance is administered by companies, but signed off on by the province. Changes can happen across the country, and there is no way to stress how critical it is to be aware of those changes. Adam Bari, a 34-year-old father of twins, found out in truly dreadful fashion what a difference a day can make. Or even just 12 hours.
Bari was t-boned on his motorcycle on June 1st, 2016, just outside of Hamilton, Ontario. As the CBC reported at the time, he was deemed not at fault, though his injuries included “brain trauma, multiple broken bones in his right arm, leg and hand, as well as internal organ damage.” Mistakenly pronounced dead at the scene, he awoke from a coma a month later; he also awoke to the news that he will face a long rehab, mounting medical costs and his insurance coverage to compensate had shrunk, just 12 hours previously, from $2 million to $86,000.
This is a brutal, brutal example of what can happen if you ignore the fine print or miss the warnings. The changes are in the metric of how injuries are classified, and thereby covered. As Deb Arnold, a broker with Sound Insurance Services points out, the changes were to rectify and clarify a system that was becoming burdened by lawsuits:
“The definition of ‘catastrophic injury’ prior to June 1 was extremely broad and left too much to interpretation, which led to far too many lawsuits for individuals not catastrophically impaired by injury. The new definition is tighter and more comprehensive. The purpose of the change was to clarify what would be eligible for a tort liability suit and what would not. However, there will forever be grey areas within the law itself and within the courts. The new definition only applies to accidents occurring on or after June 1, so the new definition has not yet been tested in court.”
CTV News - Ross McLaughlin & Carly Yoshida October 13, 2016. 'I just don't feel safe': Airbag issue leaves Nissan customer frustrated
A Surrey mother says she’s afraid to drive her vehicle after repeated attempts to fix an airbag issue in her Nissan have failed.
Desiree Cairns has owned her 2015 Nissan Murano for less than a year, and it only has about 10,000 km on it, but she says the airbag warning light keeps coming on while she’s in the front passenger seat. She says even though she’s taken the vehicle in at least 13 times for service, the problem has persisted.
But multiple attempts to fix Cairns’ vehicle haven’t worked. The computer was reset six times and reprogrammed three times; the occupant classification system sensors were replaced twice; and the control computer was also replaced.
George Iny with the Automobile Protection Association says after that many unsuccessful repair attempts, the company should offer the owner a new vehicle or a refund.
“You’re looking at what may appear to be a lemon,” he said. “If you can’t fix the car at that point you should be offering a refund or an exchange to the owner.”
The Globe and Mail - Jason Tchir October 4, 2016. How do I know that used car for sale wasn’t formerly an Uber ride?
Once your Uber is over and it’s time to sell, you don’t have to tell the next guy that hundreds of strangers sat in the back seat. And the dealer doesn’t have to either,
“Uber drivers are under no legal compulsion to volunteer that information when trading in their car,” Warren Barnard, executive director of the Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario (UCDA) said in an e-mail. “Ethically, I’d like to think they should, but I’m highly doubtful they would – even if asked, how many Uber drivers will honestly answer the question, ‘Has this car been used as an Uber car?’”
“Right now, Uber is too recent for [us] to state that prior use as an Uber vehicle reduces the market value or condition of the vehicle – eventually that could be the case, as it does for taxis,” said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), a subscription-based watchdog, in an e-mail. “So the consumer’s exposure to a claim in damages would be theoretical for now – I can foresee the day when dealers taking a vehicle in trade will request an Uber disclosure from the consumer, but it seems far away for now.”
CBC - Joanne Levasseur, Katie Nicholson, Holly Moore September 15, 2016. Customers should ask for refunds on extra fees, car dealers association says
If you bought a car in the last 15 months, you may be entitled to a refund of the fees you paid over and above the advertised price, according to the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association.
"If they've said something is non-negotiable and forced it on a consumer, beyond the advertised price, then the consumer should be getting that money refunded," executive director Geoff Sine said in an interview with the CBC News I-Team.
George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association, said the province needs to get tougher with enforcement.
"I don't know why the industry is so resistant to integrity in price advertising but it is, and I guess the oversight in Manitoba — you need to step up your game," he said.
CBC - Joanne Levasseur and Katie Nicholson September 14, 2016. Surprise! Car buyers still asked to pay 100s in extra fees despite new law
It's a law that is supposed to protect car buyers from surprise fees. But more than a year after it came into effect, extra fees are routinely being added to the advertised price of vehicles at many dealerships.
As of June 1, 2015, car ads in Manitoba must state the total price, including all additional charges except the PST and GST. Charging extra fees in and of itself is not against the law. The legislation aims to ensure "truth in advertising."
But that is not what the I-Team found at dealership after dealership when it sent in undercover shoppers. Seven out of 10 salespeople stated there were fees and charges ranging from $599 to $1799 on top of the advertised price.
All three Gauthier and four out of five Birchwood salespeople said fees over and above the advertised price had to be paid.
"It's a deceptive practice. It's a form of consumer fraud," said George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association. "It hurts the customer because of course, they don't realize that was part of the bargain."
CBC Go Public - Erica Johnson September 12, 2016. Calgary man finds toughest part of owning 2009 Ford F-150 truck is finding replacement part
Paul Rubner thinks what's happened to his Ford F-150 is criminal — and he should know, he's a detective with the Calgary Police Service.
The heating system on his 2009 truck suddenly failed, blowing only extremely hot air on the passenger side — so hot, no one could sit in the passenger seat.
But the biggest problem? It can't be fixed.
"It's crazy," says Rubner. "My truck is only seven years old."
The director of Canada's Automobile Protection Association says Ford should make things right for its customer.
"It's not acceptable ... for the largest-sold vehicle in the country to be an orphan or stranded, because a certain component can't be sourced anymore," says George Iny.
Expert searches for obsolete part
Go Public searched online for the F-150 HVAC module, checking dozens of sites offering aftermarket parts. When we couldn't find one we asked Toronto mechanic Eli Melnick to try to hunt the part down.
Melnick has more than 40 years' experience and has repaired over 100,000 vehicles. He's sourced used car parts countless times, but when it came to our request?
"Very frustrating!" says Melnick. "With today's world of electronics and internet, we literally have access to worldwide suppliers. Ordering parts is usually quite easy." Melnick searched for several hours calling large and small aftermarket suppliers, but no one had the part.
"I was really surprised," he says Melnick. "You're talking about an F-150. It's the number 1 selling vehicle in North America, so why are we having this grief?" He shrugs his shoulders and sighs. "This does not look good on Ford."
Consumer group weighs in
The director of Canada's Automobile Protection Association says Ford should make things right for its customer. "It's not acceptable ... for the largest-sold vehicle in the country to be an orphan or stranded, because a certain component can't be sourced anymore," says George Iny.
Automakers earn a lot of money selling parts, so they usually continue making them for years after a vehicle is discontinued or replaced with a newer model.
"To have run out after seven years, means all the spares they originally made were put into F-150s," says Iny.
Iny says vehicle owners are sometimes left in the lurch when the manufacturer pulls out of the North American market, as happened with Saab, Daewoo and Suzuki.
But even then, companies didn't simply declare parts obsolete. Suzuki committed to supplying parts for 10 years, but that commitment was voluntary.
Canada has little consumer protection when it comes to ensuring companies provide auto parts for any period beyond a vehicle's warranty.
A piece of consumer legislation in Quebec provides the best protection in the country.
"If a product requires parts and service in Quebec," says Iny, "you are, under the statute, required to make the part for a reasonable amount of time."
The Automobile Protection Association says a "reasonable" amount of time would be 15 years, because that's the average life of most vehicles on Canadian roads, including Ford pickup trucks.
Iny would like to see consumer protection in every province that would force automakers to provide parts for that long.
"The carmaker has to be committed to supplying parts that are necessary for that vehicle to perform," he says.
Motherboard - Jordan Pearson July 20, 2016. How ‘Black Boxes’ In Autonomous Cars Will Be Used to Blame Humans
In the wake of a Tesla car’s fatal crash while on autopilot, German lawmakers are proposing mandatory “black boxes” for self-driving cars, similar to the devices in airplanes that record the moments before a fatal accident.
The idea is that this type of recorder would help authorities piece together what happened in the moments before a collision, and determine whether a human or a machine was to blame.
“The belief is that the most likely culprit is going to be the human, or another human in another vehicle,” said George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association, which aims to protect consumer interests in the auto marketplace. “It may allow companies to mount a proper defense in the event that their technology is blamed.”
Privacy advocates have long been wary of event data recorders in regular cars, and the risk of sensitive information getting into the wrong hands will be the same for autonomous vehicles, Iny said.
CTV News - Ross McLaughlin & Carly Yoshida July 7, 2016. Class-action lawsuit alleges defect exists in some Kia engines
Kia is being sued over engine failures in the U.S. and has responded by offering extended warranties on some Kia Optimas in both the U.S. and Canada.
A class-action lawsuit filed in the U.S. alleges some models of Kia’s Optima, Sportage, and Sorento vehicles have a defect that could cause “catastrophic engine failure.”
The lawyer representing the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Matthew Schelkopf, claims the failing engines are the same ones that were used in Hyundai Sonatas that were recalled last year.
Kia Canada attributed the engine failure to low oil levels as a result of lack of scheduled maintenance. But George Iny with the Canadian Automotive Protection Association doesn’t believe that’s what caused the failure.
“It’s not true that it’s related to an oil change that you missed 50,000 km ago. It could happen in other situations as well,” he said. Iny believes Parmar’s issue is related to what is happening with seized engines in the U.S.
The Globe & Mail- Jason Tchir July 5, 2016. Can I remove air bags if they are recalled, but can't be replaced?
If you’re afraid to get into your car, driving with no air bag is likely safer than driving with an air bag that could kill you in a crash, says the Canada Safety Council.
“In Canada and in Canada only, you can apply to Transport Canada to have the air bag removed,” said Raynald Marchand, general manager, programs with the Canada Safety Council. “Takata has a lot of bags to make and there’s a huge back order - so in this case, I’d just get it removed until they have the new one.”
The potential danger with the Takata air bags isn’t that they won’t open in a crash - it’s that they could open with too much force and spray metal shards through the cabin, Marchand said.
Worldwide, more than100 million vehicles from at least 13 manufacturers need air bag inflators replaced after at least 11 reported deaths. None of those incidents involved BMW.
There have been no reported deaths or injuries in Canada, said the Automobile Protection Association.
“The risk here is remote,” said APA president George Iny in an e-mail.
Takata uses the chemical ammonium nitrate to create an explosion that inflates air bags in a crash. Over time, if that chemical is exposed to heat and humidity, it can burn too fast.
(The APA's position on disconnecting Takata air bags in Canada:
Although the Motor Vehicle Safety Act does not require a passive restraint like an airbag, current thinking is not to disconnect recalled Takata air bags in Canada. Occupant restraints function as a system, and the airbag works in conjunction with the seat belt, pre-tensioner, load limiters and other safety features. To date, there is no indication that a deployment with too much force has occurred in Canada, and the risk of a deployment while waiting for the recalled part is tiny. Furthermore, a vehicle owner will have difficulty finding someone qualified to disconnect an air bag, even if they are able to obtain the required exemption from Transport Canada. If your vehicle is covered by a Takata air bag recall, make sure the automaker has your current address.)
The Globe & Mail- Jason Tchir June 30, 2016. Ontario’s new safety inspection rules: What they mean for used car buyers
Even after it’s updated this week for the first time since the 1970s, Ontario’s used-vehicle safety inspection is “mostly visual” and no substitute for a prepurchase inspection from a mechanic, a Toronto shop owner said.
“Despite all the hoopla, in principal, it’s the same thing we’re doing now,” said Eli Melnick, owner of Start Auto Electric Ltd. “On paper, it’s probably a better report than the previous one but all it really is, is a very minimal, mostly visual safety inspection – and I stress safety because other stuff like the air conditioning, the engine and any other accessories are not covered at all.”
“I would call Ontario a modest upgrade – they also included safety equipment that didn’t exist in the seventies,” said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association, a subscription-based watchdog. “They’re requiring better paperwork, but we would have liked it to be put online – it’s still a bit antiquated in that it’s based on paper records that the dealer keeps.”
The rules for vehicle inspections vary across Canada. We’re not looking at commercial standards – just at standard passenger vehicles that haven’t been rebuilt or written off.
The Globe & Mail- Jason Tchir June 29, 2016. My leased vehicle was in an accident – what are my options?
Honesty might be the best way to deal with the lease of your worries. Car companies often require you to turn yourself in when you turn your car in…
“Some leasing companies send out an inspection team to review the car to allow for accident records to be obtained prior to the car being returned,” said Sharon Lucas, a sales manager with Lease Busters. “They will also advise any abnormal wear and tear to allow the person to either correct it themselves – or they will send them a bill for the dealership to repair.”
Is the crash already out of the bag?
Even if they don’t ask and you don’t tell, they may find out anyway.
“If fixed by insurance, or even estimated at a body shop, an accident will more than likely will show up in a CarProof vehicle history report irrespective of any declaration,” said George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), in an e-mail.
Plus, the insurance company may have informed the car company, too.
“If a cash payout was made for repairs or a total-loss, then the leasing company would be added as a payee,” said Pete Karageorgos, director, consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “The leasing company is the owner of the vehicle and they have an insurable interest in the vehicle.”
Fix the dings, or get dinged again...
“If the lessor [the leasing company] determines the repair was not performed to an acceptable standard, they could assess a penalty equivalent to the value of reconditioning the vehicle to their standard,” Iny said. “Even thought they rarely undertake the actual reconditioning.”
For example, you could be charged if you put on tires that are of lower quality than what was on the car originally.
If the car is now worth less because of the collision, it’s the car company’s problem, not yours – you don’t have to pay for that loss, Iny said.
“Loss of value after a major repair completed to a commercially acceptable standard is assumed by the lessor,” Iny said.
The Toronto Star- Michael Lewis June 28, 2016. Volkswagen agrees to landmark $15.3-billion emissions settlement in U.S.
Volkswagen AG has agreed to pay as much as $15.3 billion (U.S.) to settle consumer lawsuits and U.S. government allegations that it used illegal software to defeat emissions testing — while, in Canada, parties to class actions are expected to offer a progress report to the courts by July 29.
“Our hope is to provide remedies to Canadians on pace with U.S. customers,” Volkswagen Canada Inc. spokesman Thomas Tetzlaff said in an email.
George Iny, executive director of Canadian consumer group the Automobile Protection Association, said drawn-out class-action proceedings in Canada could be avoided if VW offers compensation modelled on the U.S. settlement to vehicle owners here.
VW said in September that 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide were outfitted with “defeat device” software that showed the engine meeting tailpipe standards during testing, but that shut off when the vehicle was being driven.
CBCNews - Yvonne Colbert
June 16, 2016. Do drivers in Atlantic Canada need more frequent car maintenance?
Do drivers in Atlantic Canada need more frequent motor vehicle maintenance?
One Halifax woman was told she did, but now she's questioning that and is asking for a refund for what she considers unnecessary work performed by a Halifax dealership.
"They said the reason they had recommended the services is because I drive in special conditions, and the special conditions are because I live in Atlantic Canada," Mary Jane Hampton said.
George Iny, executive director of the Automobile Protection Association, told CBC News his organization sees examples of overtreatment when it comes to vehicle maintenance, noting special operating conditions could apply to most of the country except the West Coast.
"[However] if you're not towing, if you're not idling a long time or doing just very short trips all winter where the vehicle doesn't warm up, the standard interval would be acceptable," he said.
Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
May 31, 2016. What you need to know before buying or selling a used car?
You’ve gone new car shopping, and have come back slightly deflated and even more irritated at what you were offered as a trade value on your current car. “To hell with that,” you think. “I’ll sell it myself.”
Of course there is a gap between what they offered you and what you looked up online. They have to make a profit – there goes part of your difference – and many of us overestimate the value of our cars. And while a dealer can certainly get those tie rods replaced or those chips repaired cheaper than you can, it still has to be fluffed up to a new buyer’s level.
“Don’t be a price junkie,” says George Iny, president of the APA. While there may be dozens of listings for the car you’re considering, no two are identical. Lowball prices are a red flag, says Iny, and APA investigations have discovered that a price too good to be true always comes with a story – a bad one. Instead, look to the higher price points and use examples of those priced lower to negotiate.
CBC News - David Burke
May 24, 2016. Are tighter rules needed on recording devices in cars?
It may be 2016, but many cars in Canada have a bit of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four in them.
Most vehicles built since the early 2000s contain event data recorders that silently log everything, such as braking, speed, steering and whether a seatbelt is buckled.
Initially created to improve safety and car performance, the devices have become a tool for police to reconstruct crash scenes and for insurance companies to assign accident blame.
"There are significant privacy concerns. First of all, your car is basically monitoring itself and to some degree monitoring your behaviour but you don't know it, unless you are told," said George Iny, the director of the Automobile Protection Association.
"I think if a device is surveilling you, or monitoring you, that there have to be restrictions on it," said Iny.
"I think the basic rule should be that you own your data and if someone is collecting it — even if it's with your consent — that they have to do it within certain parameters."
The Globe & Mail - Jason Tchir
May 24, 2016. I hit a big pothole, could there be damage I can’t see?
As long as your tires are properly inflated, your car should be able to handle garden-variety potholes - but if you hit a deep one, your wallet could take a hit too.
George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association says potholes cause damage to rims and tires but can also cause suspension damage like a broken ball joint or a blown strut.
“Over the long haul, suspension wear is accelerated” Iny says. “This is noticeable to some dealers in Ontario buying exported Quebec vehicles.”
“On the minimal side it could be bad enough to need an alignment,” Cooney-Mann says. “But I’ve seen rims cracked in half, I’ve seen a strut or control arm that snapped and went through the tower - that was a missing manhole cover.”
Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
May 20, 2016. Honda deals with Takata airbag mess the right way
Full props to Honda for stepping up while other manufacturers stay hidden in the weeds....The crux of the problem from Consumer Reports: “[T]he airbag’s inflator, a metal cartridge loaded with propellant wafers, which in some cases has ignited with explosive force. If the inflator housing ruptures in a crash, metal shards from the airbag can be sprayed throughout the passenger cabin … NHTSA has determined the root cause of the problem: airbags that use ammonium nitrate-based propellant without a chemical drying agent. As postulated early on, environmental moisture, high temperatures, and age as associated with the defect that can improperly inflate the airbags…
Millions of cars in Canada are affected by the recall. You can check at your dealer or Transport Canada to see if your vehicle is affected by the recall. It might be an airbag on the passenger side, or the driver’s side, not necessarily both. Toyota told its dealers to affix a sticker that said “do not sit here” for potentially dangerous passenger seats...
My personal car isn’t on the recall list (yet), but I know the uphill battle manufacturers are facing finding enough suppliers to fulfill the recall, which has a timeline stretching out until 2019 by some estimates...
According to John Raymond at the Automobile Protection Association, some manufacturers have been dealing with customers on a squeaky wheel basis; you complain loudly enough, they’ll offer up a solution. The APA notes that one suggested alternative, to deactivate the potentially faulty airbag, would open up too much liability in compromising a major safety element of the vehicle.
The Globe & Mail - Jason Tchir
May 3, 2016. Do I have to service my car at the dealer to keep the warranty valid?
Whether you buy or lease, it shouldn’t be the dealer’s choice where you get your car serviced – it’s yours.
“To maintain your warranty, you do not have to have your vehicle maintained at an authorized dealer,” says George Moffat, manager of warranty and service contracts for Mercedes-Benz Canada. “Of course, the maintenance has to be done and documented.”
No manufacturer’s warranty can force you to get your service done by the dealer, says George Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), a subscription-based consumer watchdog.
“If the manufacturer requires you to use a particular product or service to maintain the warranty’s validity, it should be provided at no charge,” Iny says in an e-mail. “Or be demonstrably the only appropriate way to maintain the vehicle.”
CBC News - Yvonne Colbert
April 25, 2016. 2016 Ford Escape owner one of unknown number with radio problem
Four months after Carolyn Neilson brought home her brand new 2016 Ford Escape, she's frustrated that the car radio too often won't work and the dealership seems unable to fix the problem.
"We noticed sometimes we'd get in and turn the key on and the radio wouldn't work. And the next time if we shut the car off and turned it on, it may work. It may not," Neilson said...
In early February, when it was clear the issue wasn't going away, she started keeping a record of the dates and times the radio did not work — at least 91 times since Feb 7... "I asked them to replace the radio and they told me they don't know if it's the radio and it would cost about two thousand dollars to replace the radio," she said. She asked them to replace the vehicle but says she was told she may have the same problem in the next car...
Not the first time
George Iny, executive director of the Automobile Protection Association, said while this is the first he's heard of this particular problem, it's not the first time Ford has had problems with its entertainment systems...
"It's one of many, many complaints Ford has been having roughly since 2011 with their in-dash SYNC technology. Several Ford models have been affected and often, in the earlier years, with far more crippling malfunctions than what is described here," he told CBC News. Iny said it may take six months to a year for a car maker to work these things out.
"They're not priorities because the car isn't disabled," he said
April 22, 2016. Volkswagen's emissions deals & Turo's plan to let you rent out your wheels: BUSINESS WEEK WRAP
Volkswagen owners in Canada could be forgiven for feeling underwhelmed this week after they got their hopes up ahead of a settlement that was supposed to outline how the automaker planned to fix their vehicles, and maybe even compensate them for their troubles.
"VW was the Lance Armstrong of emissions cheating," said George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association. "They got away with it for a very long time and looked brilliant, and finally the whole house of cards came crashing down."
The Globe & Mail - Greg Keenan
April 21, 2016. VW Canada to buy back, repair or compensate owners of more than 100,000 vehicles
Volkswagen Canada Inc. will buy back, repair or compensate owners of more than 100,000 vehicles equipped with diesel engines that pumped pollutants into the air as part a scheme to cheat on emissions tests – a scandal that has damaged the reputation of its parent company Volkswagen AG and is likely to cost the auto maker billions of dollars.
George Iny, who heads the Automobile Protection Agendcy, a Canadian consumer group, said there are about 30 lawsuits filed against Volkswagen Canada, most of them seeking damages to compensate owners of vehicles whose value has plunged.
In Calgary, about 20 repair shops were presented with the same, simple repair.
"There were very big differences. The cost of a diagnosis and general inspection ranged from $30 to $350," said spokesperson George Iny.
"We're not against paying people in the repair trade well. Our concern though is when the work isn't so great."
He says only a third of the shops visited in Calgary were able to find the problem, which was a loose cable at the top of the battery.
"In some cases the shops couldn't find it and in other cases they actually recommended services that weren't necessary."
Driving.ca - Lorraine Sommerfeld
March 21, 2016. How to stop being such an easy target for car thieves
The top-selling vehicle in Canada is a Ford F-Series pickup. The most stolen vehicle in Canada is a Ford F-Series pickup. I’m sure there is one of those annoying causation versus correlation arguments buried in there, but those discussions chase their own tail and I can never figure them out so I won’t bother.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), in 2015 car thieves liked big pickups; overall, the 2005 Ford F350 SD 4WD took top spot; the only non-pickup in the top 10 is at number four, the 2006 Cadillac Escalade. What do they all have in common? Ranging in model years from 2001 to 2007, none have a manufacturer-installed electronic immobilizer; they’re easier to pluck. Auto theft is driven by many things, but it’s hard to argue “ease of use” wouldn’t be one of them.
The Wall Street Journal - David George-Cosh and Kim Mackrael
March 2, 2016. Northern Exposure: Loonie’s Fall Is Freezing Up Business at Border
When Edaleen Dairy opened the first of three new outlets in Washington state, the Canadian dollar was worth about the same as the U.S. dollar and shoppers were flowing across the border from British Columbia.
Five years later, lower oil prices have pushed the loonie to around 74 U.S. cents, and the traffic for Edaleen’s milk and ice cream has fallen off.
“We’re feeling a bit more of the pinch,” said Mitch Moorlag, general manager of the dairy, which has laid off about a dozen of its 110 employees in recent months.
North of the border, the currency shifts are being felt in transactions big and small. Apple Inc. raised prices in its Canadian App Store to C$1.39 for its cheapest app from a typical C$1.19, citing rising foreign-exchange rates. Canada’s Automobile Protection Association estimates a car will cost up to C$400 more this year.
For Canadian retailers, a silver lining may come in more Americans crossing into Canada to take advantage of the cheaper currency.
February 2, 2016. New Sask. laws will help car buyers avoid hidden fees
Starting Feb. 1, auto dealers in Saskatchewan have to give buyers a "drive away price" that includes any fees and levies coming from the dealership. Those extra fees can range anywhere from $400 to $1,200. "There's a charge for paperwork, and there's something called a green tire levy," said Iny, president of the Automobile Protection Association. "These things are all fake charges. They're made to look like payments to government..."
If you refuse to pay, dealers often refuse to sell you the vehicle. "Dealers are absolutely unrepentant about this stuff," he said. "We've done many, several dozen, visits with hidden cameras rolling. The explanations you get verbally are ludicrous, deceptive and sometimes fraudulent."
Iny said the hidden fees appeared around ten years ago, mainly because of tightening margins from car makers, squeezing the profits of dealerships.
Driving.ca- Lorraine Sommerfeld
January 25, 2016. Is your used car actually safe? Soon, it’ll be easier to tell
Mechanics and used car dealers may be up in arms, but Ontario's overhaul of its safety certificate program is long overdue
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, goes the saying. But what if it is well and truly broken, and there are still voices not keen on fixing it?
That’s the upshot of the Ontario government’s recent introduction of changes to the automobile safety certificate program. You know safeties: those things a used car seller could hand to a buyer pretending it meant the car had passed some rigorous checklist, when in actuality, the list itself is dated and vague; it contains omissions big enough to drive a truck through. For curbsiders and other less-than-stellar types, you could usually find someone to supply a safety sight unseen for a hundred bucks if you knew which shade to look under....
The bigger issue for industry watchdog George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association is what the SSC isn’t: it isn’t a warranty. “Consumers will continue to confuse the inspection with a warranty,” he says. He would have liked to see several things that this long-awaited update didn’t deliver: real-time centralized record keeping, more transparency in the process and an inspection that goes beyond a visual one. He notes the original plans included an electronic barcoded record, which got lost along the way. He hopes the upgrade will continue to be evolutionary to be more effective to consumers.
CBC - Yvonne Colbert
January 19, 2016. Nova Scotia urged to adopt all-in pricing on vehicle sales
A Halifax man annoyed about what he calls "hidden" car fees is calling on the Nova Scotia government to follow the lead of several other provinces and implement all-in pricing for vehicle purchases...
The Automobile Protection Association agrees. George Iny, a director with the non-profit consumer protection group, says a vehicle's advertised price should include all fees.
He called the administration fee "completely bogus," and said it covers a dealer's overhead costs. Other fees, such as the tire and rim warranty that includes nitrogen in tires, are grossly over-priced, he said.
"A dealer will charge $299 and throw in a warranty with it that might be worth $50 or $60," Iny said.
Iny said customers should be given the option of not accepting the tire and rim fee. But he said APA secret shoppers in other provinces have been told that's not possible because nitrogen is already in the tires.
Another fee that crops up is for etching security information on a vehicle windshield. Iny said it's little more than insurance the dealer buys to protect the vehicle when it's on their lot. "If the vehicle is stolen from their own lot they get some money back from the company … They put little stickies on the windows and maybe a few other places of the vehicle," he said. "They may pay $60 a car and you'll pay anywhere from $200 or $300 for it..."
When contacted by CBC News, a Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman said security etching information is not recorded on police databases or used by police to track stolen vehicles.
680 News - Amanda Ferguson
January 18, 2016. Selling used cars to get a lot tougher with new inspection standards
Drivers looking to make a little cash and sell their used cars will likely have a harder time getting the green light on a safety inspection come July.
The province is updating their inspection standards for the first time in 42 years, requiring mechanics to go through a more detailed, 96-page checklist before passing a car.
“It’s a huge change,” Alan Gelman said, co-owner of GlennAlan Motors. “The cost is going to change. The time factor is going to change. The price of used cars is going to change.”
The new requirements come into effect July 1...
George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association, says he’d like to see even more transparency in the inspection process.
“The issue with safety standards and certification in Ontario is not that it is out of date, it’s that the model is broken,” Iny said. “There isn’t enough oversight of shops or techs that will pass vehicles that should never pass.”
CBC - Yvonne Colbert
January 15, 2016. Legislation governing vehicle recalls defective, according to consumer advocate
Canada must strengthen federal legislation governing vehicle recalls, as the current act doesn't let the federal government recall a vehicle that has been assessed as unsafe, a consumer advocate says.
"When it comes to car recall campaigns, the Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Act is what I call a zombie law," Phil Edmonston told CBC News. "It's there. It's not quite alive; it's not dead. It's very seldom used."
Edmonston, a former MP who founded the Automobile Protection Association and is the author of Lemon-Aid Car guides, said he's been lobbying the federal government and car manufacturers for changes for decades.
Edmonston said the Harper government proposed improvements, but those changes are now in the hands of the Liberals. He's hoping the Trudeau government will see the Conservatives' bill as an important piece of legislation.
"It isn't all that political," Edmonston said. "I don't know anybody who has told me that, 'I don't want to have my car recalled if it could kill me,' and that's where we are right now,"' he said.