Dealers report muted response in Maine to GM, Nissan recalls

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Posted March 04, 2010, at 9:19 p.m.

Butch Gross hasn’t seen much impact from his company’s being the latest hit with recall fever, but the sales manager at Varney Buick Pontiac and GMC of Bangor sees what could be a trend, he says.

“I haven’t had any of our past customers voice any concerns,” Gross said Thursday. “It’s not really affecting us at all. I field a lot of the calls that come into this department, and I haven’t fielded any calls yet on any recalls.”

Following Toyota and its 8 million recalled vehicles, General Motors and Nissan announced plans this week to recall several of their models for potential or actual faults. Some Pontiac models are among the recalled cars.

Although Gross said he has not had any inquiries about recalls, “we have had a few customers that were considering buying Toyotas that have gone over to the GM side. We have seen some of that. We have had some people in who have traded in their Toyotas and bought trucks, also.

“They said they were disenchanted with Toyota’s fuel economy ratings, and now with certain recalls on Toyota’s full-size trucks, they wanted a change,” Gross added.

GM will recall 1.3 million Chevrolet and Pontiac vehicles in North America to fix power-steering systems after federal regulators received more than 1,100 consumer complaints about failures. A motor in the power-steering systems of Chevrolet Cobalt small cars and three Pontiac models will be replaced following several complaints, which included 14 crashes and one injury, GM said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating.

Like Toyota, Nissan is recalling vehicles due to faulty pedals. Nissan is pulling back 540,000 vehicles, including their 2008 to 2010 Nissan Titan pickups, Infiniti QX56 and Nissan Armada SUVs and 2008 and 2009 Nissan Quest minivans.

The Nissan’s fault, however, lies in its brake pedals, not accelerators. Nissan fears that a pedal pin can become loose, weakening brakes. No crashes have occurred as a result, Nissan said.

Another 419,000 Nissan vehicles in the U.S., including Nissan Frontier pickups and Pathfinder and Xterra SUVs made from January to March 2006 and October 2007 to January 2008, and 2005-2008 Nissan Titan, Armada and Infiniti QX56s, are facing recalls due to faulty fuel gauges.

Some tank sensors cause the gauge to show a quarter-tank of gas when it’s actually empty. Nissan advises owners to keep their vehicles at least half full.

Representatives at four Nissan dealerships in central and northern Maine — Darling’s Honda Nissan of Bangor, Charlie’s Jeep Eagle Nissan Mazda Suzuki and Kia of Augusta, Lee Auto Mall of Auburn and Shepard Nissan-Chrysler-Dodge of Rockland — declined to comment on the recalls when telephoned this week.

Several referred comment to Nissan’s national headquarters.

GMC dealerships, which number at least six in central and northern Maine, weren’t much more forthcoming. Several declined to comment, referred comment to people who were absent, or referred comment to national GMC representatives.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/03/04/news/state/dealers-report-muted-response-in-maine-to-gm-nissan-recalls/ printed on July 25, 2014