According an annual report filed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 16.2 million vehicles were recalled in 2012, with more than half of those vehicles having been produced by Honda and Toyota alone.
Including their Scion and Lexus brands, Toyota in fact led the way with 12 recalls that covered 5.3 million vehicles, which accounts for more recalled vehicles than the three largest domestic auto companies combined. In second place was Honda, along with its Acura luxury brand, which saw 16 recalls affecting about 3.4 million vehicles. Third place on the list was General Motors, which issued 17 recalls covering 1.5 million of their vehicles. The Ford Motor Company took fourth place, with 24 recalls affecting 1.4 million vehicles, with Chrysler taking fifth, with 13 recalls involving 1.3 million vehicles. In 2011, Honda led the way, with 3.9 million vehicles recalled, with Toyota trailing in second, with 3.5 million vehicles in 13 recalls, followed by Ford, with 3.3 million, Chrysler with 773,000, and General Motors, with 500,000 vehicles recalled.
The NHTSA attached a statement to the report, making sure to note that “this analysis should not be interpreted as an indication of what NHTSA thinks of any particular manufacturer or its products.” The agency was also careful to point out that the largest auto makers will usually be at the top of the list every year, because their summary numbers are just raw numbers, and they do not factor in or weight averages based on production. The reason for this is because such weighting would be next to impossible, since a large number of recalls can cover a wide range of model years. As an example, they noted that nearly 2.5 million of the Toyotas recalled came during a single recall covering model years 2007-2009 over the possibility that a switch for the power windows might cause a fire.
Overall, the NHTSA noted that the 16.2 million vehicles recalled were returned to dealerships in 586 recalls in 2012, which was a bit higher than the 15.5 million vehicles returned in 596 recall actions in 2011. The report also demonstrated that NHTSA was more likely to initiate a recall than auto makers, with 9.4 million of the 16.2 million vehicles having been recalled as a result of an agency investigation, usually as a result of a consumer complaint. The other 6.8 million vehicles were recalled in an action initiated by the automakers themselves.
While recalls are often described as voluntary, federal regulations require a manufacturer to report any safety defect to the agency, along with its recall plan, within five working days after it becomes aware of it, or face civil penalties. The NHTSA has been requiring automakers to recall vehicles since 1966. Since then, 518.7 million vehicles have been recalled. The worst year ever was 2004, when automakers recalled 30.8 million vehicles.
In addition to the vehicles themselves, the agency also handles recalls for tires, child restraints and automotive-related equipment. Last year, about 71,500 child restraints were recalled, as were about 1.1 million tires and 390,000 pieces of auto-related equipment, including such items as sunroofs and trailer hitches. When all is said and done, NHTSA oversaw recalls of 17.8 million items last year, which is more than the 17.2 million recalled in 2011.
According to Safercar.gov, “A safety recall involving a motor vehicle or an item of motor vehicle equipment can be independently conducted by a manufacturer or ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In either case, the manufacturer must file a public report describing the safety-related defect or noncompliance with a Federal motor vehicle safety standard, the involved vehicle/equipment population, the major events that resulted in the recall determination, a description of the remedy, and a schedule for the recall. NHTSA monitors each safety recall to ensure the manufacturers provide owners safe, free, and effective remedies according to the Safety Act and Federal regulations. Manufacturers are obligated to attempt to notify owners of recalled products.”
The Texas Vehicle Defect Lawyers at Hill Law Firm have represented many people injured by recalled vehicles, tires, and automotive products. If you have been injured or lost a loved one due to a recalled defect in a vehicle, contact Hill Law Firm today.