Recalls really aren’t that exciting

With the recent problems besieging Toyota and the terrible publicity that surrounds their massive global recall program we thought it might be interesting to take a deeper look into the whole recall issue that affects all manufacturers at some time or another.

In car manufacturing recalls come with the territory and millions of vehicles are recalled every year but usually generate very little news and equally little inconvenience for the owner. Virtually every car manufacturer has to occasionally fix problems that may escape quality control and cars are undoubtedly complicated machines with dozens of computers and thousands of moving parts, which are subjected to bad driving, bad roads, bad weather, and often outright abuse. As a result many potential problems may not be discovered until long into a cars life.

It’s true to say that recalls involve flaws that could affect the safety of a vehicle, but more often than not there’s no immediate risk. Recalls often involve problems that are rare but may cause a serious problem if they ever occur. Even though there may be a few high-profile incidents traced to the problem the real risk to any given driver is often extremely remote.

The fact that people have lost their lives supposedly whilst driving defective Toyotas and the sheer scale of the Toyota recalls means that its big news but you won’t hear too many car makers trying to monopolize on Toyota’s woes, as they will more likely be thinking there but for the grace of God.

We took a look at the VOSA (Vehicle Operator Services Agency) website to check the manufacturer recalls for 2009 and if you thought the Toyota recall soap opera was out of the ordinary you might be interested to see the results.

In 2009 Volvo recalled 8,255 S80, V70 & XC70 because of concerns that a “short circuit may cause a fire”. They also went on to recall a further 2,004 S80, V70, C30, C70, S40 & V50 because, somewhat alarmingly the “brakes may not perform adequately”.

Suzuki recalled 31,872 Swift models when it was discovered that the “boot light might catch fire” and Ford recalled 7,156 Ka’s because the “rear brakes might lock up”.

Land Rover also had to recall 13,275 Discovery 3 and Range Rover Sport’s because “Fuel may leak from the fuel pump front bearing which could lead to poor performance, smell of fuel, fuel leakage at the rear of the engine, fuel leak onto the ground and in the worse case fire.” Oops!

And the list goes on and on, so as you can see recalls are very much a fact of life for all car makers and what is currently happening to Toyota, although magnified on a massive scale, should really be taken in context.

Massive recalls can and do cost car manufacturers a lot of money but most recalls amount simply to the cost of sales.

Carmakers do tend to bounce back from safety controversies and Toyota will be hoping they can do the same.

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