safety ratings cars

Rise in Counterfeit Auto Parts Cause Safety Concerns

When consumers have their vehicles repaired at auto body shops they expect to receive OEM Parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer) car parts or at the very least quality Aftermarket parts. According to Bruce Foucart, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center for Homeland Security Investigations report that counterfeit auto parts are on the rise with 85-95% of all counterfeit goods coming from China.  "We’ve seen counterfeit safety belts that weren’t secure and air bags that have exploded so dramatically they probably would have done harm had they gone off.  Some of them even failed to deploy."  

Counterfeiting auto parts is a global issue that proposes health and safety concerns for consumers.  Bruce Foucart urges auto body shops to protect consumers by being certain that their parts are legitimate and checking that it is a reputable distributor and confirmed with the manufacturer.  An unusually cheap part may be a warning sign to a body shop or consumers that may look for parts on their own.  

To combat the problem is a newly formed coalition:  The Automobile Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition—the A2C2. It’s made up of nearly every automobile manufacturer and they meet four times a year.   To discover more about this coalition from Bruce Foucart, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center for Homeland Security Investigations click here to read the entire article written by Stacey Phillips at

Many car manufactures are passionate in the pursuit to thwart those that put lives in danger through their counterfeiting activities. February of this year Hyundai launched a campaign warning Americans about counterfeit parts and the hazards that they can cause to all of us on the roadways. This Youtube video showcases a roulette wheel showing that it is a gamble not to double check the authenticity of auto parts in this day and age of difficult to detect counterfeit parts.  

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that counterfeit automobile parts cost the global automotive parts industry $12 billion in lost sales a year, including $3 billion in the U.S. alone. The FTC also estimates that the U.S. auto parts industry lost sales to counterfeit parts correlates to approximately 200,000 - 250,000 fewer manufacturing jobs. (

With coalitions being formed to combat counterfeiters and an informed public working together we can authenticate our parts, and essentially maintain greater vehicle safety moving forward. 

Autonomous Driving Steering the Future

Many automakers have recently released their concepts of autonomous cars.  We are astounded by the profound technology that make the autonomous cars a much safer form of driving and ultimately the most efficient driving that the world has ever known.  

We will present some fine details of a few of our favorite autonomous cars and touch on the trust factor.  How many drivers and passengers will truly be comfortable giving ultimate control to their cars?  The stats are in and there is much work to be done to prepare the population for a new way of driving.   

The Swedish auto maker, Volvo, recently reported that they plan to launch their version of self-driving splendor and convenience in 2017 with a goal of 100 vehicles due to drive Swedish byways. Until then we are allowed to take a peek inside one of the most amazing self-driving concepts that we have seen to date. 

Through a study Volvo estimates that people lose approximately 26 minutes of productivity during their daily commute.  The concept packs convenience and efficiency by sporting a driver side digital desktop, with a desktop table and a 25” mega monitor controlled to pop up on the passenger side from a central, front, console touch screen. 

“The system was the first autonomous concept interior placed on a workable platform.” Learn more about this amazing autonomous dream at  To see many of the new self-driving concept cars in action around the world check out these awesome videos:

Now, regarding the trust factor: with new concepts of self-driving cars coming out every year we wondered how many people trust the technology? 

“A Pew report last year showed that less than 50 percent of people wanted to ride in a driverless car. While this is not an insignificant portion of the population, for car manufacturers to fully commit to producing autonomous cars, they clearly will need to work on winning the trust of over half the population. Both Google and Ford have publicly stated that 2020 is a realistic date for when fully autonomous cars will be seen on our roads.”

The leader in building trust in the minds of would be driverless drivers has been primarily Google through their ongoing testing of their cars in California in some of the most congested city driving in America.  They have a strong belief that autonomous vehicles are safer without human intervention.  

Their coaxing has obviously paid off well as a letter posted online in February 2016 stated that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave its OK to the idea of a self-driving car without a steering wheel and so forth, that cannot be controlled by a human driver.  Discover more about the details of this very important decree by the NHTSA:

As we await 2020 we will be focusing on Google’s fleet of autonomous cars as they learn more about the many complicated driving scenarios that plague drivers every day.  Many people around the world have probably already heard about the Google Lexus-model autonomous vehicle ("Google AV") that hit a bus at slow speed last week.  The first to be partly the fault of a Google self-driving car.  No injuries reported, but, precisely why testing and constant tweaking of their autonomous software continues for several more years. Read more about this recent accident at  

Lastly, as Google’s autonomous functional prototypes have cruised 1 million miles on the roads of California Google experts are continually discovering ways to perfect the genius software that make the future of self-driving cars most promising.  Until then we will keep dreaming of accident free driving that saves time and provides the best of technology without the wheel and worry. 

All about Google’s self-driving cars with monthly progress reports: 



Vehicle Hackers Breach Automakers Cyber Dashboard Technology

Do you know that hackers are able to control vehicles through the latest online systems equipped with cyber technology?   This is very concerning for many people.  Recently viewed a video from that demonstrated how hackers can literally take control of a vehicle from a distant location through a computer.  The driver of the Jeep Cherokee in this particular scenario had no control and he was nearly run off the road.  Fortunately, some hackers do care and are willing to assist auto makers by revealing the tricks of their dangerous trade. 

You may ask:  what is being done by major auto makers to resolve this very serious issue?  Can it be completely resolved?  With such major safety implications Chrysler has issued a patch to secure their vehicles. reported this month:  That the AAM,  An alliance of twelve automakers including Ford and General Motors said it will create a center for sharing information and analysis to help make cars more secure.”  The new ISAC hub will make it efficient for major automakers to transmit and share new security threats specifically targeting vehicle cyber systems as they come into the new hub. 

Fortunately, the major auto makers are on top of the threats and doing everything that they can to make the online systems in vehicles more secure.   Only time will tell if the security breaches hamper new vehicle sales.   One of our Twitter followers tweeted:  “Note to self, do not buy a new vehicle with online technology.” 

We understand the concerns and will keep you updated as automakers, technology firms and other related auto industry teams work together to make us all feel more secure as we travel with our online world at our fingertips. 

Dynamic Links for New Vehicle Buyers!

Over the last month Richards' Collision Center's Blog has reviewed many sites and videos regarding new 2015 vehicles from the hottest sports cars to the safest, family vehicles in the market this year. This week we will include all of the dynamic links we have provided over the last month with a few new links that caught the eye.  The list below will assist you in finding your dream ride by providing excellent specs,  reviews, videos, incentives, and more!



Top 2015 SAFEST Vehicle Picks!

How important is safety when your considering to buy a new vehicle? For many people safety is a top priority.  This week we have conducted research to discover the best performing 2015 vehicles involving safety.  The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) is a non-profit organization that provokes the auto industry to hold a high standard regarding innovative safety features to prevent deadly car crashes. 

Each year the company conducts extensive studies and performs crash tests on the newest models.  They help consumers by reporting the results and explaining the information through their popular "Top Vehicle Pick(+) rating process."  They also provide videos on YouTube and their website of the actual crash tests.  

The auto industry continues to create new innovative safety technologies to eventually make deadly car crashes a thing of the past. Let's take a look at the various top award winners.

Top Safety Pick+ goes out to the new midsize luxury sedan 2015 Acura TLX. 

According to the results from the tests performed by IIHS: 

 "The TLX earns good ratings in the Institute's long-standing moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests. Good ratings in these tests, a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap test, and a front crash prevention rating of basic or higher are the requirements for the Institute's highest award for 2014, TOP SAFETY PICK+."

The 2015 Subaru Outback easily wins the award parading some of these amazing safety features:

  • Side airbags: front and rear head curtain airbags and front seat-mounted torso airbags
  • Rollover sensor: designed to deploy the side curtain airbags in the event of an impending rollover
  • Seat cushion airbags: separate airbags in the forward portion of the driver and passenger seat cushions to prevent occupants from sliding under the seat belts
  • Electronic stability control
  • Antilock brakes
  • Daytime running lights

The 2015 Toyota Sienna minivan also performed exceptionally well with the same stunning safety features as the former vehicle, except: 

  • Side airbags: head curtain airbags for all three rows of seats and front seat-mounted torso airbags

To see the results of all the best performers review the IIHS website. Pass the word on to those you love who are shopping for a new safer vehicle.  

All of us at Richards' Collision Center wish you a safe & Happy Holiday!