Only six months have passed since 2014 started and already the US automakers seem to be on track to a shameful record – exceeding the all time total recall number of cars set back in 2004.
The latest batch of recalls from Japanese automakers that have problems with their Takata Corp made airbags, the US tally alone stands now at 31.4 million vehicles, which has already greatly surpassed last year’s tally of 27.96 million, putting it within reach of the “record” of 33.01 million cars recalled in 2004.
Joe Hinrichs, president of the Americas, Ford, says there are now “unique circumstances going on in the industry. With what’s transpired (in recent months), there’s a higher level of scrutiny and we always study what’s happening with our competitors,” he added.
Ford is well aware of how a recall crisis can affect an automaker, as not long ago it was panned universally for the Firestone and Explorer mishandling. Now, GM is under scrutiny with its 6 million cars recalled for defects at the ignition switch and a grand total of almost 18 million cars.
On the other hand, the long heralded beacons of quality, the Japanese automakers, are also having trouble of their own, with Toyota issuing this year its second-largest recall ever and together with its Japanese competitors being highlighted in Takata Corp’s problems with airbag inflators that explode and send shrapnel in the cabin.