BMW Issues Fire Hazard Recall

BMW is recalling over 1 million vehicles in North America due to a potential fire hazard. In what is actually two separate recalls, the automobile manufacturer is recalling 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, and is looking at potentially expanding the recall to other countries. The recall was announced on November 3, 2017.

According to Reuters, BMW announced the recall after meetings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The manufacturer is recalling 670,000 3-series vehicles from model years 2006-2011, and 740,000 vehicles from model years 2007-2011 including 128i vehicles, 3-Series, 5-Series and X3, X5, and Z4 vehicles. The first recall is due to a wiring issue in the heating and air conditioning system that could potentially cause the system to overheat and start a fire. The second recall is due to a valve heater that may rust, also potentially resulting in a fire.

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The Chicago Tribune reported that BMW was first made aware of the wiring issue in 2008. There were no reports of injuries caused by the wiring issue from 2007-2014, but in 2015 BMW learned of a situation that resulted in injuries caused by the wiring problem. Regarding the issue with the valve heater, BMW first received a report in 2009 about an issue that occurred in 2007. Luckily, no injuries caused by the valve heater have been reported.

Vehicle recalls can be nerve wracking, but in both of these instances, the recalls are precautionary and the odds of a fire are small. The recall officially goes into effect on December 18, 2017. After that date, BMW has 60 days to notify drivers of the affected vehicles by mail, letting them know their vehicle is under recall. If you believe your vehicle is under recall but do not hear anything from the manufacturer, or want to be proactive about knowing the status of your vehicle, you can go to www.safercar.gov or www.nhtsa.gov/recalls and enter your vehicle’s VIN to see if it is under recall. Or, click on the button below.

All BMW dealers will repair wiring harnesses, valve heaters, and any other parts necessary to resolve the issues. Drivers can take their vehicles to any BMW dealer to have their vehicle fixed - it doesn’t need to be the dealer they bought the vehicle from. Drivers should be patient, as a recall as large as this will likely have a lengthy waiting list for repairs. Most importantly, drivers shouldn’t panic. BMW has not said that the vehicles are unsafe to drive, so drivers can continue to use their vehicles without worry of getting involved in recall related car accidents.

No matter how much research you put into purchasing your vehicle, or how well you maintain it, it is virtually impossible to predict or prevent your vehicle from being recalled. Recalls can be stressful, but they are a part of being a car owner.  By being proactive about checking your car’s VIN for recalls and paying attention to any mail you receive from the manufacturer, you can help prevent being involved in any recall car crashes. Should you find your vehicle under recall, remain calm, and learn what necessary steps need to be taken in order to repair your car to make it safe for you and your family.


Car accidents caused by mechanical failure and faulty defects are rare when compared to those caused by human error, but they still happen. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident which was the result of a recalled car defect, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of motor vehicle accidents, including those caused by car recall defects. 

Automakers Respond To Consumer Technology Demands

Forget about fuel economy, acceleration times, or reliability. What many new car shoppers want to know is if they will be able to integrate their smartphone with their new car’s multimedia system, and if the latest vehicle is Wi-Fi compatible. Automakers are increasingly developing new cars with these consumer demands in mind.  People in the market of buying a new car want to be able to access things like navigation, music, phone calls and text through their car's dashboard touchscreen, steering wheel buttons, or by voice command for a more hands-free experience. In response, the 2017 lineup of vehicles include one or more tech-savvy feature. Demand for multimedia systems, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, continues to increase, and with it, the number of vehicles catering to these needs.

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A year ago, fewer than 50 vehicles were offering one or more of these features. The list has reached over 100 this year, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. General Motors now has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in 30 of its models. Ford, a company that one year ago didn’t even have one vehicle with a multimedia system, is now the first vehicle manufacturer to offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on every vehicle line it sells, including the luxury Lincoln brand. BMW and Porsche have the option for Apple CarPlay in a majority of their models, though no plans to add Android Auto have been announced.

While many automakers are jumping to integrate already existing technology into their cars, Toyota is going against the grain by creating their own system, called Scout GPS Link. This system allows the integration of a smartphone navigation app with the vehicle's multimedia system on many of the Toyota and Lexus models.

On the Wi-Fi front, GM and Ford are following in the footsteps of Chrysler by implementing Wi-Fi in some of their vehicles, thereby bringing wireless connection to models other than just luxury cars. Some GM cars now even have OnStar 4G LTE, Ford has upgraded their MyFord Touch system to make accessibility easier for users, and even Chrysler has extended Wi-Fi to its Jeep and Dodge models, giving vehicles an extended 150-foot range for secure and private network connections.

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As with all new inventions, the latest and greatest vehicle technology is not without its setbacks. When a driver is too busy changing the music, sending a text message, or consulting the multimedia system for directions, they are engaging in distracted driving behavior and are putting themselves and other drivers at risk of being involved in a distracted driving car crash.

Not only do these high-tech systems pose a car accident risk, but they also increase the likelihood of car hacking incidents. Researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek conducted a controlled experiment to test the capabilities of the software, finding that they could remotely access a Jeep Wrangler and control its functions through its multimedia system. They were even able to cut the brakes and engine!

In response to the rising threat of car hacking, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accounced that "to ensure a robust cybersecurity environment for these dynamic new technologies, NHTSA adopted a layered research approach, modified its organizational structure, and is continually developing vital partnerships, encouraging members of the industry to take independent steps to help improve the cybersecurity posture of vehicles in the United States. NHTSA's goal is to stay ahead of potential vehicle cybersecurity challenges, and to continue seeking ways to address or avoid them altogether."

Despite the public’s desire for a wireless network while on the road, it comes at a price some are not willing to pay. It has been proven that the Wi-Fi systems in cars can be exploited. Until the guidelines and regulations concerning cybersecurity in cars and their multimedia systems are tested, improved and enforced, drivers must use their car's technology with caution in order to avoid being hacked. Drivers should also be wary of interacting with their car while driving in order to avoid distracted driving car accidents.


Multimedia systems are designed to make things easier for the driver since they allow the driver to be able to use the features of their smartphone, without actually using their phone. While this hands-free technology may help to prevent the number of car accidents caused by distracted driving, it doesn't complete eliminate distracted driving behaviors. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact The Michigan Law Firm PLLC. For a free consultation, call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM.

 

 

Automakers Break Into Ride-Sharing Car Market

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Ride-sharing first became a tech-phenomenon in 2011 when tech-giants, Uber and Lyft, introduced the ability to hail cabs and share rides with friends instantly, through an app available on smart phones. Since then, according to Business Insider, 30% of the U.S. population has reported using some form of a ride-sharing app. Ride-sharing has made transportation fast and convenient, and the industry is only growing as new companies look to break into the market.

However, as Popular Mechanics explains, the sharing trend, as opposed to individuals purchasing and operating their own vehicles, started with car-sharing. Car-sharing became a trend in the automotive industry in 2000 and was popularized by a company called ZipCar, but has just recently taken off since the development of smart phones. Car-sharing allows customers to purchase a membership with a car-sharing service such as ZipCar, which customers can then use along with the company’s website or app, to locate the nearest vehicle, flash their membership card to unlock the vehicle, and then drive the car their reserved time period. While car sharing is very convenient for those who don't own a motor vehicle, it's most common complaint is that most car-sharing companies' customers are given the option to be charged by the day, hour, minute, or mile they drive. Being charged by the minute or mile can get very expensive. However, the positive aspect to car-sharing is that gas and insurance are already included in the fee.

While it was the first to gain popularity, ZipCar is now one of many similar services. Last year, The Michigan Law Firm Blog wrote an article about GM launching its own car-sharing service, Maven. In an effort to become the leading forerunner in personal mobility services, GM acquired assets from Sidecar, a ride-sharing start-up company, in January of 2016 and has also teamed up with the premier ride-sharing brand, Lyft. GM has also broken into the ride-sharing market by introducing Maven Gig, a service that allows drivers for Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing services to rent Chevy Volts, if they do not have a car of their own, to drive their ride-share costumers in. 

More recently, Daimler and BMW have become the next large automakers attempting to challenge Silicon Valley by designing their own car-sharing and ride-sharing programs. According the The New York Times, Daimler, the makers of the luxury brand, Mercedes-Benz, first introduced its car-sharing brand, Car2Go, in 2008 in Germany, and has since grown to serve about 2.4 million members across 9 countries. 33% of Car2Go members are even located in North America. The Car2Go program has yielded positive results after a 3-year study of 10,000 members done by U.C. Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center, which reported that Car2Go service has reduced vehicle ownership and miles traveled in privately owned cars. As a result, greenhouse emissions have been reduced, 2% to 5% of Car2Go members have sold their privately owned vehicles, and 7% to 10% of members have stopped seeking to purchase a vehicle because of the service.

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BMW first launched its own car-sharing service, DriveNow, in Europe in 2011. In December of 2016, it went on to launch its North American car-sharing service, ReachNow. BMW has also been testing its own ride-sharing service in Seattle as well. Steve Banfield, the CEO of ReachNow, explained the company’s reasoning to enter into both car-sharing and ride-sharing markets by stating that “sometimes they (customers) want to be driven, sometimes they want to drive. Sometimes they want the car for several days, sometimes they want the car for 10 minutes.” Banfield further explained that offering customers different ways to move about cities allows the company to study and research the method of transportation individuals prefer to use, allowing the company to become closer to the consumer. Both services also allow BMW to promote their luxury brand by offering temporary rides and mobility to individuals. 

A future with autonomous vehicles is inevitable, so it is important for companies to mold a business strategy that will allow themselves to adapt to a new automotive industry that will no longer require individuals to purchase and operate their own vehicles. BMW has reportedly partnered with Intel to begin production of autonomous cars by 2021, while Daimler and Uber have partnered to start their own creation of self-operating vehicles. These large automakers hope by creating their own personal mobility brands and creating early plans to start autonomous vehicle production, they will be able dominate the market in the future.

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With these car-sharing and ride-sharing programs, it is important to remember that human drivers are still operating these vehicles (that is, until vehicles become autonomous). Therefore the risk of a car accident due to human error is always present. Thus, passengers should always stay alert while riding in a vehicle and follow car safety precautions such as wearing a seat belt.


The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC is a Metro Detroit law firm that handles all types of accident cases. If you or someone you know has been involved in car, bus, motorcycle, or truck accident, call the The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Electric Car Sales Reached Record High in 2016

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Today, environmental issues have become a primary concern in society. With many policymakers, activists, and corporations alike, all seeking to inspire a greater movement to sustain the Earth, it is not surprising that the “green movement” is beginning to impact certain industries, specifically the automotive industry. According to Greentech Media, the electric car market hit a record high last year in 2016 when 750,000 electric cars were sold. There are 2 million electric cars being driven in the world today, meaning that almost half of the world's electric cars were sold last year! Although 2 million only accounts for 2% of the market for small, passenger vehicles, it is a large feat for the industry that just began scratching the surface in 2010.

China has led the electric car market, competing directly with the Detroit, Michigan automakers. Of the 750,000 electric vehicles sold last year, China sold 336,000, with much credit due to BYD, a Chinese automaker that has dominated the electric vehicle (EV) market and was responsible for roughly 1/3rd of the country's EV sales. Yet, according to electrek, BYD has recently seen sales drop 34% in early 2017 due to the Chinese government reducing electric vehicle subsidies and incentives, which have been the main reason behind the market’s rapid growth.

After China, Europe sold the second highest amount of electric vehicles, accounting for 215,000. Norway saw the highest EV sales in Europe, selling about 62,000 vehicles. Other European countries that have contributed to sales include the Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, and Sweden. The United States trailed China and Europe selling 160,000 vehicles last year.

Credit:  IEA

Credit: IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is optimistic about future growth in the electric car market, projecting car sales between 9 million and 20 million by 2020, and sales between 40 million and 70 million by 2025. Since this is quite a leap from last year's three quarters of a million, many wonder if these numbers are attainable. The answer is that car sales are dependent on the green movement continuing to motivate consumers into seeking more environmentally friendly transportation, as well as automakers designing more practical and less expensive electric vehicles. 

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It's tough enough to buy a regular gasoline car without doing a ton of research, that it's even more difficult for some people to consider electric cars too. Until electric vehicles gain more popularity, the average person may not know enough about them to know how to purchase one of if it's the right vehicle for them. Below is a list of pros and cons provided by PluginCars to aid in decision making.

Cons of Electric Cars:

  1. Limited driving range. A main concern about EVs is that they have a limited driving range of about 80 to 100 miles before they need to recharge. This makes it difficult to take long trips with the car because charging stations may be many miles away and it takes hours to fully recharge.
  2. That leads to the next con, long charging time. However, the time it takes to charge an EV completely depends on the size of its battery. As a general measure for all EVs, 1 hour of charging can put about 20-25 miles back into the car.
  3. EVs are expensive. The average price for an EV is between $30,000 and $40,000, which is more expensive than a standard gas-powered vehicle of its size. However, most U.S. states offer incentives for purchasing electric cars, you can view the incentives by each state here.
  4. Minimal consumer choice. Many of the EV models look similar, and some people do not care for the typical design of an electric car. However, this has been an issue well-addressed by automakers and many new designs have been developed or are in the development process.

Pros of Electric Cars:

  1. They are quiet and quick. An EV delivers a much smoother and quieter ride, and electric cars possess more torque allowing the car to accelerate faster.
  2. EVs can be recharged at home. Electric cars can be easily charged in the confines of your home by simply plugging in the charger into an outlet and letting it charge overnight. In the morning it will be fully charged and ready to be driven.
  3. EVs are cheaper to drive. The cost per mile to fuel an electric vehicle is about 1/4th the cost of gasoline. Also, because the vehicle is electric, the only maintenance costs incurred are tire rotations and maintaining inflated tires.
  4. They do not produce carbon emissions. Of course, the largest benefit to electric vehicles is that they do not include a tailpipe that gives off harmful chemicals into the air, therefore they produce better air quality and benefit the environment.

 

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Clearly, there are both benefits and issues with electric cars, but with the ongoing movement to help sustain the environment, it is foreseeable that EV sales will continue to rise. Given the ongoing creation of new designs and longer lasting batteries from innovative companies such as Tesla, these vehicles are becoming more attractive and appealing to the consumer. It remains to be seen whether electric cars will take over the automotive industry in the future, but it is safe to say the market for electric vehicles will experience considerable growth in the upcoming years.


Electric vehicles are better for the environment and can help reduce our carbon footprint, however, they do not reduce the chance of getting into a car accident. If you or anyone you know has been in an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.