What Can Automaker Misconduct Look Like? Here is a Round-Up.

by Aryn Plax

Dec 11, 2020

The past decade was notable for misconduct in the automotive industry. For example, Takata’s decision to ignore a safety expert regarding faulty airbags led to the auto supplier’s bankruptcy, over two dozen deaths and millions of deadly airbags still posing a danger to drivers.

In another prominent example, Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act when it installed software that allowed its diesel vehicles to cheat federal and state emissions tests – a decision that Volkswagen is still paying for in various local courts. The scandal, nicknamed “Dieselgate,” opened the doors to investigations of other automakers that engaged in similar behavior.

Faults in design and manufacturing can lead to expansive recalls.

Faulty designs put drivers in danger and invite scrutiny by regulators and investigative journalists.

Photo description: a judge is about to hit a gavel.

Drivers of 2011–2016 Ford Fiesta and 2012–2016 Ford Focus vehicles equipped with 6-Speed Dual-Clutch Semi-Automatic (DPS6) transmissions reported that transmission problems often put occupants in danger.

Engineers claimed that when they attempted to report problems in the initial planning stages, they were silenced by Ford higher-ups.

Other instances of dangerous designs may occur due to simple bias. Swedish researcher Astrid Linder conducted research into dummies used in crash tests. Her findings revealed that most dummies used in these tests are modeled after male vehicle occupants, which results in vehicle designs providing more safety to male occupants than to female occupants.

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