Total Recall: Automakers Issue Fewer Safety Fixes In 2011

December 30, 2011
No matter what brand of vehicle you have, chances are it is—or will be—affected by some sort of recall.

Recalls, while a necessity for safety, mean lost time and money for both the automaker and the customer. And the good news is that there were fewer this past year.

According to a WardsAuto analysis of data from the federal government, automakers issued 130 recall campaigns in 2011 (not including the few issued this week), affecting about 13 million light vehicles and reversing a two-year trend of record vehicle-recall levels.

That total for 2011 is also well below the 2010 total of 136 campaigns and 17.2 million vehicles, as well as the 2009 total of 105 campaigns and 18.4 million vehicles.

Toyota issued the most recalls again in 2011

In 2011, Toyota was for the third year in a row the automaker with the most recalled vehicles—more than 3.5 million in all, covered by 13 different campaigns. However, it’s worth noting that its totals were a fraction of the total for 2010, when the automaker issued the bulk of its accelerator-related recalls, covering 11.5 million vehicles in all.

Ford remained second after Toyota, with ten recall campaigns, covering 3.2 million cars and trucks overall (about 2.7 million of them covering older F-150 trucks). Honda was a close third, with eleven campaigns covering about two million cars—with a single transmission-related recall covering about 1.5 million of those vehicles.

As we reported last summer, 30 percent of recalled vehicles aren’t fixed within 18 months after a recall, and dealerships will still be performing some of these recalls for many years.

WardsAuto points out that even though the totals for the last couple of years have been high for recalls, they’re well below the levels of 2000—the same year that the Ford/Firestone tire-recall issue broke.

Visit the federal government’s vehicle recalls page to see if your vehicle is affected by an issue, and click over to page two to see some of this year’s most interesting recalls.

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