Here’s Why There Are So Many Recalls

You’ve most likely noticed that there have been a hell of a lot of automotive recalls over the past decade that have impacted millions of vehicles on the roads in the U.S., some multiple times. It could leave you wondering why the hell there seems like a new major recall every single day.

Well, there’s actually a good reason for it, and it’s probably what you expected – cars are getting way more complex because of an increased reliance on electronics. To look further into this new trend, ABC News decided to speak with some experts about what’s going on in the automotive industry.

Here’s how recall trends have been increasing, according to ABC News:

The average number of car recalls each year jumped 46% over a 10-year period ending in 2022, when compared with the average over the preceding 10 years, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows.

Over the five years ending in 2022, the U.S. averaged more than 1,000 car recalls each year, or about 27 per day, the data shows. Until 2016, the U.S. had not exceeded 1,000 car recalls in any year going back to at least 2002.

ABC News spoke with an expert from Edmunds about what exactly is going on here:

“More complicated vehicles definitely result in more issues,” Ivan Drury, an auto analyst at data firm Edmunds, told ABC News.

”Vehicles have advanced to a degree we’ve never seen before,” Drury added, citing high-tech features such as self-driving capability and back-up cameras. “It’s such a wide swathe of issues that recalls cover that you’re going to see this more and more.”

These ideas are pretty much proven when you look back to a couple of recalls that happened in December, according to ABC News. Toyota recalled 1.12 million vehicles worldwide for a sensor malfunction that could cause the airbag to deploy incorrectly, and Tesla recalled nearly 2 million cars over issues with its Autopilot system. A further 2.2 million Teslas were recalled last week over the font size on its warning lights.

Here’s further discussion from experts, including Jalopnik contributor and all-around good guy, Tom McParland:

“Let’s just think about 20 years ago, we were just getting into airbags becoming standard,” Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader, told ABC News. “A lot of these complex pieces of equipment and technology today have to work together to get a better experience for the consumer.”

Tom McParland, operator of the vehicle-buying service Automatch Consulting, echoed the view.

“As you add more components to vehicles, as vehicles get more tech heavy, you’re going to have more failure points,” McParland said.

Despite all this, ABC News asserts that this spike in car recalls shouldn’t be too much of a worry for customers since defects range widely in severity. In fact, you can look at the uptick in recalls as a sign the regulatory system is working.
Anyway, I don’t want to give too much else away about ABC News’ findings. Head on over to their website for more information.


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