Report: 50 Million U.S. Cars Still Subject to Recalls
The latest data from Carfax has indicated that roughly 50 million U.S. vehicles presumed to still be in operation still have outstanding recalls that have yet to be addressed. Though the good news is that this represents a 6 percent decline from 2021 and a meaningful 19 percent drop against 2017.
Still, the metrics may not be wholly down to better communication on the part of the manufacturer and people taking recall notices more seriously. Between 2013 and 2015, the average number of U.S. vehicles and equipment subjected to recalls per year went from 26.3 million to 83.6 million. While the annual averages have come back down since, recalls have remained substantially higher than in decades past.
This is often attributed to vehicles becoming more complicated and boasting additional features and new types of powertrains their predecessors lacked, raising the statistical likelihood that something might go wrong. There were also several truly massive global recalls that took place within the timeframe — most notably the Takata airbag scandal that resulted in over a dozen fatalities and hundreds of injuries. However, the surging figures similarly coincide with new regulatory efforts focusing on vehicle emissions. There’s hardly enough to account for the increase in its entirety, though more than enough to have helped influence the final figures.
Meanwhile, Carfax is preoccupied with how to get the word out and encourage customers to act on necessary vehicle repairs.
“The goal is to get the information out there. But why aren’t people coming in? That’s probably the hardest question to answer,” Faisal Hasan, general manager of data and public policy at Carfax, told Automotive News.
Takata airbags and “do not drive” recalls are the most common open recalls today, Hasan said. About 67 million Takata airbag inflators have been under recall in the U.S. for several years because of a potentially lethal defect linked to at least 19 deaths and 400 injuries.
“There’s no question that the Takata airbag continues to be an issue. That continues to be really key, and folks need to pay attention to that, and they need to check their VINs,” Hasan said. “You also get a lot of ‘do not drives,’ and those are usually small sets of VINs. Those have been constant in the past couple of years.
Dealers are attempting several solutions to bring more people into the service department to get issues fixed, said Hasan.
“Consumers today are inundated with all types of emails and stuff coming to your house. We have a tendency to throw that stuff away, to delete an email,” he said.
That feels like a sound argument. If you’ve had an email account for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly noticed it filling up with spam over the last few years. It’s getting harder to parse through the garbage to find something that may actually be relevant. Considering the increase in robocalls and text scams, the same is becoming true of phones.
One possible solution to this, according to Carfax, is to better integrate with government actors. Hasan suggested that people will be less likely to throw away mail if they “believe it is from a professional entity” (just watch me) and that the company has partnered with numerous state DMVs to help contact the affected parties.
“When you get a note, an email, anything from the DMV related to your car, your insurance company, maybe through financing the car from your bank, you’re probably going to immediately open that to see what’s going on,” Hasan said. “The more touch points we can create, good ones like those, that’s how we get people to come in and close their recalls.”
[Image: Alexander Kirch/Shutterstock]
Eggsalad on Jun 15, 2022
My ex's daughter had an Accord that was subject to the Takata recall. She never went, simply because she could not afford to take unpaid time off from her job. If they really want people to get these recalls, they need to do it with "concierge-level" service. They send someone to your location with a loaner, take your car and do the recall, and then bring your car back to your location. Otherwise, people can't be arsed to get it done.
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- DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
- Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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- MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.