Recall Alert: 2009-2010 Toyota Corolla, Matrix, Tacoma, 2008-2010 Toyota Highlander, 2006-2008 Toyota RAV4, 2006-2010 Toyota Yaris

2009ToyotaCorollaRecall

Vehicles Affected: Approximately 1.3 million Toyota vehicles including model-year 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2009-2010 Tacoma, 2008-2010 Highlander, 2006-2008 RAV4 and 2006-2010 Yaris

The Problem: Electrical connections to a spiral cable assembly can be damaged when the steering wheel is turned. This could lead to the driver's airbag being deactivated, failing to deploy in a crash. If this damage occurs, an airbag warning light will illuminate in the instrument cluster.

The Fix: Dealers will replace the spiral cable assembly with an upgraded version.

What Owners Should Do: Toyota will notify owners by mail, but no date has been given for when the notices will be sent. Concerned owners can contact Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov for more info.

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By David Thomas | April 9, 2014 | Comments (7)

Toyota Cancels Matrix

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Citing a renewed focus on its redesigned-for-2014 Corolla sedan, Toyota confirmed that model-year 2013 will be the last year for its Matrix hatchback.

"With a strong lineup of both Scion and Toyota compact and subcompact hatchback models available, along with the new Corolla this fall, both brands will be well equipped to address a wide range of consumer needs in their respective segments," Toyota spokesperson Maurice Durand told Cars.com.

By Jennifer Geiger | August 8, 2013 | Comments (10)

The Top 10 Biggest Recalls of 2013

2004JeepGrandCherokee

Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issues recalls on millions of vehicles. In 2012, NHTSA recalled just shy of 18 million, and 15.5 million in 2011. While some recalls affect just a handful of vehicles, others impact millions.

So far this year, the biggest recall is technically not a recall at all. In June, we reported that NHTSA had requested Chrysler fix 2.7 million Jeep SUVs — 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Liberty models — due to a potential fuel-system problem that could cause fires in a rear-end crash. Jeep initially refused, insisting the vehicles "met and exceeded all applicable requirements" of federal standards pertaining to fuel-system integrity. NHTSA then gave Chrysler a June 18 deadline to either issue a recall themselves, or be ordered to do so.

On the day of its deadline, Chrysler announced it would launch a campaign to inspect and, if necessary, fix the 2.7 million Jeeps — never officially referring to the action as a "recall." Still, that's what it was, and therefore it earns the distinction of being the biggest one this year.

According to research, the biggest recalls affecting the U.S. market in 2013 are:

By Matt Schmitz | July 22, 2013 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: Airbag Problem Affects Millions of Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda Vehicles

2001ToyotaCorolla

Four Japanese automakers — Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda — have announced a voluntary recall of 3 million vehicles worldwide because of possibly faulty airbags; more than a million of those vehicles are in the U.S.

According to the automakers, the problem lies in the front-passenger airbag inflator, which in affected vehicles could deploy with too much pressure due to improperly manufactured propellant wafers, causing the inflator casing to rupture. This could result in injuries to passengers, though none have been reported. The airbags were manufactured by Japan's Takata Corp., a major world supplier of airbags.

According to Toyota, affected vehicles in the U.S. include 510,000 Toyota Corolla compact sedans, Matrix compact hatchbacks, Sequoia SUVs and Tundra pickup trucks, as well as Lexus SC 430 sport coupes, all manufactured between 2001 and 2003. According to news reports, Toyota is recalling 1.7 million vehicles worldwide.

Toyota said it will notify owners by mail. Dealers will inspect the front-passenger airbag; if it is equipped with an affected inflator, the inflator will be replaced with a new one for free. Toyota owners can go to www.toyota.com/recall or call Toyota customer service at 800-331-4331; Lexus owners can go to www.lexus.com/recall or call Lexus customer service at 800-255-3987.

By Matt Schmitz | April 11, 2013 | Comments (5)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: March 2013

Altima

With the top seven automakers reporting numbers — which account for the vast majority of new-car sales — March sales have crept up around 3.2% over year-ago levels. Honda, GM and Ford saw the largest gains, but no major automaker saw a double-digit increase.

The top sellers are a reshuffle from February's list; all 10 are back. The Nissan Altima jumped three spots from February, and despite an 8% sales drop, it's the best-selling sedan by just 100 cars in March. Madness? Not really. Look back at March 2012 and the Altima even beat out the Chevrolet Silverado for a podium finish in monthly sales.

Lower year-over-year incentives played against Nissan's redesigned sedan as surging competitors — the Honda Accord and the Ford Fusion — saw larger gains. Ford says the Fusion had its best sales month in the nameplate's 7 1/2-year history, and this happened with fewer incentives than on last year’s outgoing model. The Escape hit its highest monthly total in its 12-plus-year history. Those two cars — and rising Explorer and F-Series sales — overcame falling Focus, Edge and Mustang sales to drive Ford to a 5.7% year-over-year increase.

By Kelsey Mays | April 2, 2013 | Comments (4)

Why the Dodge Dart Has a Long Way to Go

Dodge_Dart

Dodge sold just 7,154 Dart sedans in January — better than December 2012, but a shabby performance when you consider that Honda moved 21,881 Civics, Ford sold 16,161 Focuses and Toyota moved 23,822 Corollas and Matrixes. Dodge dealers opened January with a glut of Darts — 141 days' worth, to be exact. That's more than double the days' supply for the Chevrolet Cruze and more than triple the supply of the Civic and Focus.

January marks the seventh full month of Dart sales, and it's been a slow start for the compact sedan. The Wall Street Journal reports Dodge parent Chrysler cut a factory shift at its facility in Dundee, Mich., which makes one of the Dart's engines, due to slow sales. At January's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne admitted that the Dart's dual-clutch automatic transmission and high mix of stick-shift cars at launch reflected "powertrain solutions that, in today's world and in hindsight, were not and are not the ideal solution."

The drivetrains don't help, but there may be another factor in play: Dodge's compact sedan is only that — a sedan. Compact cars offer the most diverse body styles. The Corolla has a Matrix offshoot, the Civic comes as a sedan or coupe, the Focus and Mazda3 include a hatchback and sedan, and the Hyundai Elantra scores a trifecta: sedan, coupe and hatch.

By Kelsey Mays | February 4, 2013 | Comments (19)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: January 2013

Fusion
Automakers should party like it's … 2012. Sales kicked off the new year at the same pace as they ended the last, with figures from the top seven largest automakers up a combined 15.6% versus January 2012. Ford and Toyota led the way with gains of 20% or better, but Nissan and Hyundai-Kia both saw a roughly flat month. None of the six automakers saw a sales decrease, however.

Ford's banner month shifted the top 10 best-sellers. The Focus compact dropped from the list, but the Fusion sedan and Escape SUV reprised their standings; both were absent in December 2012. Despite two recalls following its launch early last fall, the redesigned Fusion shot up 64.5%, and this came with lighter incentives than the outgoing Fusion a year ago. The redesigned Honda Accord — winner of our recent Cars.com $26,000 Midsize Family Sedan Showdown — picked up even better speed, packing on 75.2% to stay 1,525 cars ahead of the Fusion. Keep an eye out: That race could end the year in a photo finish.

J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman pegged sales right around December's annualized rate, Automotive News reports, meaning January would tie for the second best sales month since February 2008. Shoppers kept buying despite fewer deals. Total dealer and automaker discounts now combine for $5,223, according to CNW Marketing Research. That's down more than $500 versus January 2012, and combined with rising MSRPs, it's driven the average new car to $32,163 in January — up 6.6% versus a year ago.

By Kelsey Mays | February 1, 2013 | Comments (11)

Recall Alert: 2003-04 Pontiac Vibe

2004PontiacVibeRecall

General Motors is recalling 135,749 model year 2003-04 Pontiac Vibe hatchbacks due to an electrical problem that could cause the airbags to deploy, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In the affected vehicles, manufactured between Jan. 18, 2002, and April 27, 2004, the supplemental restraint system circuits are susceptible to internal electrical shorting; this may create an abnormal current flow and increased heat, which may damage the circuits. The problem could result in an inadvertent deployment of the front airbags or seat belt pretensioners, increasing the risk of a crash.

General Motors will notify owners, though no notification schedule has been specified. Dealers will install a supplemental harness containing an electrical filter between the airbag control module and its wire harness for free. Owners can call GM at 800-620-7668 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info.

Today's recall follows Wednesday's recall of 752,000 model year 2003-04 Corolla compact sedans and Matrix hatchbacks; the Pontiac Vibe is related to the Matrix and was produced during a Toyota-GM partnership.

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Recall Alert: 2003-04 Toyota Corolla and Matrix
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By Matt Schmitz | January 31, 2013 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2003-04 Toyota Corolla and Matrix

2004-toyota-corolla
Toyota is voluntarily recalling 752,000 model-year 2003-04 versions of the Corolla sedan and Matrix hatchback due to a faulty airbag control module, the automaker announced today.

In the affected vehicles, the airbag control module could have been manufactured with circuits that are susceptible to shorting. The resulting heat could damage the components and cause the airbags and/or seat belt pretensioners to malfunction, increasing the risk of injury.

Toyota will notify owners "in the near future," according to a statement, and dealers will replace the affected parts for free. Owners can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 or visit www.toyota.com/recall for more info.

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By Jennifer Geiger | January 30, 2013 | Comments (5)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars of 2012

Camry2

When the dust settles, 2012 will mark the third consecutive year of automotive sales gains, and the best sales year since 2007. (Remember back then? Here's a refresher.) Sales for the top seven automakers increased 12.9%, suggesting new-car sales will end in the mid-14 million range. That would be the third year in a row of sales gains, with totals up some 40% over a recession-ravaged 2008. It's the best sales year since 2007, but it still falls below sales totals through much of the 2000s.

Which cars fared best? The top sellers for 2012 include a lot of regulars, with six of the 10 cars redesigned for 2012 or 2013. The Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Cruze, both on this list a year ago, are gone; both had a relatively flat sales year.

Check out the list below.

By Kelsey Mays | January 3, 2013 | Comments (28)

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