US: 2013 saw the biggest recalls since 2004 image

With a strong culture for car safety and a watching and powerful safety authority – the NHTSA – no wonder that automakers recalled nearly 22 million vehicles last year in the US.

A sad record, which was last achieved in 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a report that over the 16.4 million vehicles that were recalled in 2012 now the number was surpassed by more than 5.5 million additional vehicles.

As the number of campaigns was the biggest since 2010, the total tally for the automakers was 632, an almost 10% jump over the 581 figure of 2012 and just like in the last four years, Toyota topped the list. The Japanese automaker issued 15 campaigns, recalling 5.3 million vehicles.

“If we see a problem we want to jump on it as quickly as possible,” said Toyota spokesman John Hanson. “That number (of recalls) reflects our determination that if we find a problem we want to address it right away.”

Second to Toyota was the Chrysler Group LLC, which also had a public quarrel with NHTSA over the request to recall 2.7 million Jeep SUVs for fire risks, issuing 36 separate recall campaigns to call back 4.7 million vehicles.

Honda – who in 2011 was first and in 2012 second – is third in 2013 (2.8 million vehicles recalled in 15 campaigns); Hyundai came fourth with 9 recalls for 2.2 million vehicles and Ford was in fifth position due to its 16 recall campaigns that covered 1.2 million vehicles.