Carmakers learn from GM and Toyota recall fiascos

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 12, 2014

Learning lessons from the debacles faced by Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co. in recalling vehicles that should have been recalled a long time ago, carmakers are pushing for safety actions faster than usual. In fact, recalls recently surged to new records in Japan and China. The pace of recall this 2014 in the United States is far outpacing last year’s.

Toyota was heavily hit by a recall crisis in 2009 and 2010 over unintended acceleration issues. The Japanese carmaker recently issued a five different recalls covering 6.8 million vehicles around the world due to different defective parts. The recall comes at a time when closest rival GM is under fire for handling of defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths.

United States legislators as well as are probing GM on the manner it dealt with faulty ignition switches that it detected as early as 2001. Ashvin Chotai, managing director of Intelligence Automotive Asia, told Bloomberg by telephone that since the Toyota fiasco in 2009-2010, there has been tendency for carmakers to be more cautious -- recalling vehicles when they previously wouldn’t have.

Regulators have noted between GM’s recent flop and Toyota’s recall over four years ago. As part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, Toyota admitted in March that it had concealed information on defects that caused unintended acceleration on its vehicles.

Its most recent recalls for five potential safety hazards, covered nearly 30 models and involved spiral cables, seat rails, steering column brackets, windshield wiper motors and engine starters.

In a statement, Toyota apologized to its customers for the inconvenience and concern “brought by this recall announcement.” The carmaker said that it has rededicated itself to strengthening its commitment to safety and quality. Toyota said that this partly means refocusing on placing customers and people first – “by listening better and taking appropriate action.” [source: BusinessWeek]

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