We already knew that both General Motors and Japan’s Takata Corp. pushed 2014 as the “year of the recall” and now the top US safety regulator has come up with the figures to prove it.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, last year a record 63.9 million autos were recalled in the United States, with the high-profile safety campaigns of General Motors and Takata taking the lion’s share. The figure of 2014 puts the new record at more than twice the figure tallied in 2004 – the previous record holder with 30.8 million vehicles. General Motors started the “party” back in February with its 2.6 million recall overdue for at least a decade to fix defective ignition switches. The highlight on the subsequent campaigns might have also pushed the other automakers to also become increasingly vigilant. Several investigations are still ongoing in GM’s case, including a criminal probe, and at least 52 people lost their lives in accidents linked to the faulty part.
Additionally, millions of vehicles from ten automakers were also recalled later on last year because of defective airbags produced by the Japanese auto safety parts supplier Takata Corp. The airbag’s inflators could explode with too much force, sending metal shards and debris inside the cabin at high velocity. Five deaths have been reported so far in connection with the Takata recalls, all in Honda-made vehicles, the automaker being the supplier’s largest client.
The US safety regulator has also come under fire for not reacting faster to the GM ignition switch and Takata airbag debacles, with President Barack Obama asking Congress to increase NHTSA funding in the 2016 budget by 9 percent to $908 million.