• Feb 13, 2008
click above to view more high-res pics of the 2008 Chevy HHR

General Motors stepped up and sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration informing them of a defect with the Chevrolet HHR that could pose a head injury risk. After testing the retro-wagon back in December, it was discovered that vehicles not equipped with the optional "roof rail" airbags fail to meet the fed's crash standards. The recall affects 181,516 2006-2008 HHRs and Chevrolet dealers will begin installing an energy-absorbent piece of plastic to the headliner on all affected models next month.


[Source: NHTSA]


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  • 50 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Can anyone tell me how the HHR goes from a 5 star government safety rating for side impact to unsafe and needing some plastic piece of energy absorbent matter to protect my cranium. I actually purchased my HHR partially because of the safety ratings and am now concerned 1) about the vehichle and 2) the saftey rating system.
      • 6 Years Ago
      @JM isn't toyota the one being sued by a former employer because they refused to change a design flaw that caused your seatbelts to trap you inside your car after an accident? Real smart engineering there
      • 6 Years Ago
      what? is that a serious comment whofan?
      i sincerely hope not... if it is, you are talking out of your rear-end.
      toyota is SLIPPING in quality and catching these things as they get bigger and bigger...
      Ford and GM are doing the SMART and responsible thing by issuing recalls on things before they become serious problems. if you've been around the industry for any length of time you would know these things happen... less than ever before.. but they still happen. anyone intelligent enough to make investment decisions, forecast earnings and sales/share figures knows that you dont dwell on these things. they do happen. they will continue to happen. and guess what? they even happen to Toyota. more now than ever before in toyota's case.
      • 6 Years Ago
      All you import fan boys are a riot! The HHR has something Toyota doesn`t - Personality. Get on a post about a Corolla or Camry or something. The mindless GM bashing gets old.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You'd think that after this exact same thing happened on the Cobalt, GM would have learned its lesson. I guess the cost of a recall is less than that of developing a correctly engineered car.

      • 6 Years Ago
      "You guys would be making excuses if this were Toyota. Oh is just an over sight. Good thing Toyota is stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing."

      Maybe you can reread my post. It`s anything but critical against GM.

      • 6 Years Ago
      to C.W.:

      "...if you really want to show your intelligence, you will research all the 3rd party sources and see that companies like Ford are higher in quality than ever before. on par with the japanese makers. not just quality, but safety as well."

      do you remember that news about Ford vehicles catching on fire?
      http://www.autoblog.com/2007/08/03/ford-recalling-3-6-mil-vehicles-with-faulty-cruise-control-units/

      this happened just last year. now you think ford has learned their lesson? well, looks like they're doing further recalls early this year on newer vehicles -- and yes, its about them catching on fire as well:
      http://www.autoblog.com/2008/02/11/ford-recalling-180-000-vans-and-suvs-for-two-issues/

      I hate to see these things burn down a house if they catch fire when parked inside a garage. But hey, I'm just pointing to some facts.

      While I would wholeheartedly agree that quality has been improving on domestic vehicles (check Malibu, Ford Fushion, etc), its news like the above that makes people shudder and like it or not, its hard the get these out of people's minds.

      Good luck to Ford.
      http://www.subaru.com/sub/misc/2008/autoshow/ny0311/wrx/index.html?module=wrx_sti§ion=gallery_video
      • 6 Years Ago
      not me, i'd be laughing at
      "energy-absorbent piece of plastic" in place of air bag no matter who it was.
      • 6 Years Ago
      you are a HHR owner? man sorry to hear that, my sympathy goes out you.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Now we know assstek owners second vehicle, how the hell plastic is going to make this crap safer? especially GM plastic.losing billions and tons of recalls is not a good way to start 08.
      • 6 Years Ago
      From the comments, it sounds like most readers are unfamiliar with the Interior Impact Regulations. The NHTSA regulates how much energy absorption the interior of the automobile must provide in an effort to reduce head injury. In a crash, there are multiple impacts: your car hitting another object, but more importantly, you hitting the inside of your car. If your head is to bonk the A-pillar , for example, you would like it to absorb some energy, rather than just splitting your skull. GM, of course, does internal testing to make sure it meets these Regs. One way to do it is to inflate a big side air bag. But since they have decided to make this technology optional, they must still meet the regulations without it. The most prevalent technology to meet these regulations is to insert specifically engineered energy absorptive structures behind the pillars and roof liners. Often, these are made of plastic and are just molded into the back of the garnishes. Kind of like the stunt man who jumps from the 4th floor into a stack of cardboard boxes, these structures gradually dissipate the impact energy and keep the 'g' level down below injury level. Quite simple and effective, actually. I think this is an item which is self certified by the automaker. GM must have found that they 'missed' a test point and informed the NHTSA that they had to improve the design. This is not so unheard of for this requirement. When it was first instituted, many OEMS struggled to make sure that all points were tested adequately. Interestingly, the test measures head injury by using a 'launcher' to fire a crash dummy head at a prescribed velocity. I would guess that GM probably just missed a test point and are now just finding the error. The regs are confusing and somewhat subject to interpretation, as you can imagine.

      Cheers,
      jeffro
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't feel sorry for me. You need to grow up some.
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