With nearly 40 million vehicles under repair campaigns and counting, 2014 will almost certainly go down as the year of the automotive recall. At just past the halfway mark, we are already at record levels, and there aren't any signs that the epidemic is slowing. General Motors' latest 8.4 million vehicle recall in the US puts the industry over the top for the title of the most cars with fixes pending from automakers ever. That's a prize no one ever wants to receive.
According to TheDetroitBureau.com, the US recall total has hit 39.85-million vehicles to surpass the previous record of 33.01 million in 2004. Perhaps more surprising, with over 26 million repairs pending, it's still quite possibly that GM could recall more vehicles by the end of the year than the 27.96-million unit total of the entire US auto industry last year. With over 40 campaigns under its belt in 2014, the roughly one million cars it would take would hardly come as a surprise at this point, especially with increased government scrutiny into the Detroit automaker's processes.
The pace of recalls started off relatively normal this year, with just a smattering of campaigns. The most surprising early on was Aston Martin calling in about 75 percent of its output since 2007 due to counterfeit plastic, but with just a few thousand cars, it was relatively tiny in pure numbers. GM really kicked things off soon after, but we didn't know it at the time. It issued its first bulletin for 778,000 Cobalt compacts in early February. Things only ballooned from there as more models were added to its growing ignition switch problem. The onslaught of announcements from every major automaker hasn't abated since then.
Some industry executives are trying to put a positive spin on the situation. "With what's transpired (in recent months), there's a higher level of scrutiny," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, to TheDetroitBureau.com. He believes that automakers are looking at data much more thoroughly than before, and it means better customer safety. Still, many consumers probably wish these problems had been found before their car went on sale.