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Auto blogFri, 07 Dec 2012 10:16:00 EST
At present, over 90 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States today are equipped with event data recorders, more commonly known as black boxes. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets its way, that already high figure will swell to a full 100 percent in short order.
Such automotive black boxes have been in existence since the 1990s, and all current Ford, General Motors, Mazda and Toyota vehicles are so equipped. NHTSA has been attempting to make these data recorders mandatory for automakers, and according to The Detroit News, the White House Office of Management Budget has just finished reviewing the proposal, clearing the way. Now NHTSA is expected to draft new legislation to make the boxes a requirement.
One problem with current black boxes is that there's no set of standards for automakers to follow when creating what bits of data are recorded, and for how long or in what format it is stored. In other words, one automaker's box is probably not compatible with its competitors.
Toyota is recalling sixteen models from the 2009 to 2013 model years over a potential issue with passenger seat airbag calibration. In spite of the large number of different Toyotas covered by the recall, just 3,235 units are included. These were vehicles installed with accessories like leather seat covers and headrest DVD systems by Southeast Toyota Distributors, and during the modifications the passenger seat occupant sensor system might not have been calibration tested. If the sensors aren't set up properly, the passenger airbag might not work as it should.
Affected models include: Avalon, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, Prius, Prius V, Rav4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra and Venza. Scroll down for the relevant model years for each.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that the recall will begin this month. Southeast Toyota will inform owners, at which time they can take their Toyotas to dealers for testing and repair. The complete bulletin from the NHTSA with more information is below.
More than any other, two carmaking giants sit at the top of the industry: Toyota and General Motors. But while GM sells under a (shrinking but still) expansive range of brands, the Toyota Motor Corporation sells most of its vehicles under its own name. That doesn't mean that Toyota, however, doesn't have its own portfolio of subsidiaries. Here in the United States we have the youth-oriented Scion division, while Lexus handles its upscale offerings, and overseas there's Daihatsu.
The budget brand offers a range of small cars under its own name; most are hatchbacks, but there's also the Copen roadster and even a rebadged Camry called the Altis. You may have come across some of their offerings while traveling overseas, particularly in Europe, but that last part is about to come to an end, according to reports.
Word from across the pond is that Toyota plans to withdraw Daihatsu from the European market altogether. The move would reportedly take effect in 2013, and if it comes to pass, would follow similar withdrawals from the North American (1992) and Australian (2006) markets. Thanks for the tip, William!