US rejects Ford petition to delay recall of 3m vehicles

The vehicles in question include the 2007-11 Ford Ranger and other models. (Reuters)
Updated 19 November 2017
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US rejects Ford petition to delay recall of 3m vehicles

WASHINGTON: The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Friday it was rejecting a petition by Ford Motor Co. to delay recalling about 3 million vehicles with potentially defective air bag inflators to conduct additional testing.
The agency said it did not find the request by the second largest US automaker “reasonable under the circumstances or supported by the testing and data it has collected to date.”
Takata inflators can explode with excessive force, unleashing metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks. At least 18 deaths and 180 injuries worldwide have been tied to the defect that led Takata Corp. to file for bankruptcy protection in June and prompted at least 19 automakers to issue recalls.
NHTSA also rejected a similar petition filed by Mazda Motor Co. covering about 6,000 vehicles. Mazda said in a statement it “takes our customers’ safety as a single-minded top priority and continues to work hand-in-hand with NHTSA.”
The public can comment on NHTSA’s decision until Dec. 18 on both Ford and Mazda’s petitions. Mazda said it would “provide further information once NHTSA issues its final determination.”
Ford did not immediately say if it planned to challenge the agency’s decision. “We will cooperate with the agency, as we always do,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said in an email. The vehicles in question include the 2007-11 Ford Ranger, 2006-12 Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, 2006-11 Mercury Milan, and 2007-10 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX.
In July, NHTSA said new testing prompted Takata to declare inflators defective in Ford, Nissan Motor Co. and Mazda vehicles in some driver-side air bags. Nissan agreed to a recall of 515,000 vehicles.
NHTSA agreed in 2016 to a request by General Motors Co. to delay a recall of 2.5 million vehicles with Takata air bag inflators as the Detroit automaker conducts additional testing to determine if the vehicles need replacement inflators.
Separately, a report issued on Friday by an independent monitor of the Takata recalls said more than 10 million US vehicles and 18.5 million faulty Takata air bag inflators remain unrepaired in the largest ever auto recall.
Takata has said it expects to have recalled 125 million vehicles worldwide by 2019.
The report said 43.1 million Takata airbag inflators were under recall in 31.5 million vehicles today, with scheduled expansion to about 65 million inflators by the end of 2018. Of those, 24.6 million inflators in 20 million vehicles have been repaired.
In 2019, another 4.1 million vehicles will be recalled to replace interim inflators.
— REUTERS


OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

Updated 19 June 2018
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OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

  • Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day
  • The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday

VIENNA: The oil ministers of the OPEC cartel were gathering Tuesday to discuss this week whether to increase production of crude and help limit a rise in global energy prices.
The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday, when they will also confer with Russia, a non-OPEC country that since late 2016 has cooperated with the cartel to limit production.
Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day, ending the output cut agreed on in 2016.
The cut has since then pushed up the price of crude oil by about 50 percent. The US benchmark in May hit its highest level in three and half years, at $72.35 a barrel.
Upon arriving, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail Al Mazrouei, said: “It’s going to be hopefully a good meeting. We look forward to having this gathering with OPEC and non-OPEC.”
The 14 countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries make more money with higher prices, but are mindful of the fact that more expensive crude can encourage a shift to renewable resources and hurt demand.
“Consumers as well as businesses will be hoping that this week’s OPEC meeting succeeds in keeping a lid on prices, and in so doing calling a halt to a period which has seen a steady rise in fuel costs,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK
The rise in the cost of oil has been a key factor in driving up consumer price inflation in major economies like the US and Europe in recent months.
Already US President Donald Trump has called on OPEC to cut production, tweeting in April and again this month that “OPEC is at it again” by allowing oil prices to rise.
Within OPEC, an increase in output will not affect all countries equally. While Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s biggest producer, is seen to be open to a rise in production, other countries cannot afford to do so. Those include Iran and Venezuela, whose industries are stymied either by international sanctions or domestic turmoil. Iran is a fierce regional rival to Saudi Arabia, meaning the OPEC deal could also influence the geopolitics in the Middle East.