Wednesday

Are Ford Fusions Dangerous?


Federal safety investigators have launched a preliminary investigation into the 2010 Ford Fusion model, as reports of fracturing wheel studs have surfaced, according to news reports. The wheel studs are key to holding the wheels on a car. Simply put, if they break a sheel can come off at any moment and without any warning.

Safety regulators at the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, the government agency in charge of car recalls, have received multiple reports of wheel stud fractures at low mileages (between 5,000 and 11,000 miles). Investigators report that in every case it was before any service had been done involving the wheels.

With low mileages, it seems the cars were not on the road long enough for for road or traffic issues to be a cause of the dangerous fracturing. With no service having been done either, indications are that the root of the problem is in the manufacturing process.

The preliminary investigation stage is the first step in the federal safety investigation process that may lead to a recall.

When a wheel stud fractures, it can lead to loss of control. That can mean an accident with no warning and at any speed.

Ford says it is cooperating but it has come to rely on Fusion sales to help pull it ahead of competitors. Last year's sales topped 220,000, helping Ford get a 21% increase in its sales figures just as Toyota and Honda sales fell. Now, the investigation may cover just over 281,000 of the model year 2010 Ford Fusions.

It may be a deadly defect detected early and that may save lives. If you own a Ford Fusion, check your wheel studs carefully for signs of cracks. If you don't know how, it wouldn't hurt to have your local dealer or a service shop do it. Odds are, you are probably okay. But don't take a chance.

If you've got a lemon Ford Fusion, or any Ford lemon, and if your dealer isn't helping, call us. Getting rid of lemon cars and truck lemons is what we do. Everyday. Since 1978. Making the manufacturer pay your attorney fees too? Well, that only seems right to us.

Because life's too short to drive a lemon. Any kind of lemon.

Monday

Did GM en-v someone else's invention?

Voted the most futuristic product at the Consumer Electronics Show for 2011 is the GM en-v, variously described as a scooter-car and a Segway car of sorts.

Only problem is, it looks awfully familiar.

General Motors doesn't say much about it other than the idea is likely to be a decade away from reality - maybe - and it looks like Asia will be its prime market target. And it comes from the Segway concept that was all the rage just a few years ago when it was announced, and which still can be found in the hallways of some airports, mounted by security guards.

But in reality, GM's en-v looks like it is only a step up from something an 18 year old Canadian named Ben Gulak created several years back, called the Uno. His story, fresh from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, made the New York Times in 2008. It made the cover of Popular Sciene that year as one of the top inventions of the year.

Gulak's Uno was actually a motorbike with two wheels mounted next to each other instead of one behind the other, as a conventional motorcycle would be. From the side it looks like one wheel - sort of a motorized unicycle. With his invention though, just as with the Segway, your bike's movement was controlled by your body movement, using gyroscopic tenchology like the Segway's. Perhaps like GM (?), Gulak's idea came after seeing motorbikes in China crowding the streets and spewing smog everywhere.

My brother Larry first spotted the Gulak Uno story a couple of years ago and emailed me about it. Now, in 2011, you have to wonder if GM hired Gulak (after all, he's been to MIT) or if they bought his idea or if they just "adopted" it for themself. After all, it looks like they just put a roof on it and spread the wheels a little and called it their own.

Burdge Law Office
Helping consumers since 1978.