By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
● BMW is recalling 32,000 2008-2011 5-series and 5- series Gran Turismo models, plus some 2008-2011 7-Series, X5 and X6 models to correct a potential fire hazard. The turbocharged eight and twelve cylinder engines in these vehicles use an electric auxiliary water pump.
That unit is computer controlled, and the circuit board at the pump has been found to overheat, leading to a possible “smoldering of the pump or an engine compartment or vehicle fire.” Two fires have been traced the problem. Affected vehicles will get a new pump.
● Honda and Toyota can’t seem to catch an even break lately. Just as both companies were recovering from March’s natural disaster in Japan, both have again announced production cutbacks and new product delays due to severe flooding in Thailand.
Again, the problem is parts supply, not vehicles; plants in Thailand provide a number of microprocessors and ECMs for Honda vehicles in every market. Toyota is feeling a similar pinch and both companies have said that North American production will be affected.
Nissan may have again ducked the bullet—that company said only one of its plants will be shuttered for a short period of time while other companies have said it may be months until their plants are back to full steam.
● Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla says his company has pre-sold all 6,500 units of its new luxury electric car, Model S. The new sedan will join the electric roadster that turned so many heads a few years ago. But Musk also announced that the Model S will forego the soon-to-be-industry-standard SAE J1772 recharging connector in favor of Tesla’s own unit.
The reason? According to him, “The SAE plug isn’t sexy looking enough.” The New York Times additionally quoted Musk describing the look the Tesla home charging system as “…a beautiful advanced alien artifact that arrived in the middle of the night.”
Alien or not, it may not be wise to fly in the face of an industry standard supported by most major car makers. Critics are already saying that Model S buyers will want to connect the car at public power points, not just in their own garage. Sex sells, but will it get you home from the mall?
● SAAB seems to have been bought by Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. We say seems because nothing is certain until the Chinese government approves the plan and so far they have shown mixed feelings on the deal.
This story has had more twists and turns in four months than any soap opera you could possibly conceive, complete with lawsuits, union protests, shell companies, false promises and Russian financiers.
It is interesting to note that Youngman also owns Lotus and rumors are already sprouting about a more sporting vehicle appearing in the SAAB lineup.
If the buyers’ restructuring plans proceed, the company will start producing cars again in Sweden and Mexico as soon as possible. The buyers stated their confidence in the company’s ability to once again become profitable.
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.