Nissan Motor Company will be dealing with federal investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who will be looking into about 360,000 vehicles from the car manufacturer after complaints from drivers who said components at the pedals may prevent the cars from braking.
One foreign driver and four U.S. drivers have made complaints, including a driver reportedly at a busy intersection who almost crashed. No crashes have been linked to the pedal flaw yet.
According to reports, a Nissan spokesperson claimed the company was fully cooperating with the investigation by the feds and that it has recently been made aware of the situation. Nissan's investigation comes just months after a controversial investigation and scrutiny from Congress over General Motors company's handling of safety in its vehicle design and manufacturing. That led to a recall. It is possible Nissan might face a recall as well.
The Nissan car models in question are 360,000 Nissan Versa, Versa Sedan and Versa Note from the 2012 through 2014 models. It was reported that tunnel carpet cover trim panel near the drivers feet had trapped drivers' feet, preventing them from immediately applying brakes and decelerating their cars. Complaints state that the plastic wedged into drivers' shoes, preventing them from removing their foot from the accleration pedal in their Nissan.
Currently, the investigation is in the preliminary stages. If the federal regulators decide there is a safety risk, Nissan could ultimately face recalls of these Versa vehicles. It was also reported that Chrysler pickups were also being looked into by regulators. In Chrysler's case, complaints involve transmission chains and some unintended halting of vehicles. That includes approximately 260,000 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks assembled in 2005.
Nissan and Honda, automakers that are Japan-based but have manufaturing facilities in the U.S. and other parts of the world, have faced recalls and other regulatory issues in the U.S. in recent times, which led to probes from the federal government. Congress has shown support, at least in speech, on the side of the consumers and regulators on the issue of motor vehicle safety.
In the case of General Motors, it was found through inquiry that there was an internal problem, a culture of shrugging off the problem, procrastinating, neglect and passing the buck within the decision-making beurocracy of management at the company.
This has not been reported to be the case with Nissan recently, but more details would only be made available after at least the preliminary investigation closes. Nissan made its way into the U.S. automobile market in the 1960s as Datsun, competing with U.S. automakers as gasoline prices began to rise in the country.