Ford Motor Co. has retained its hold on a dubious crown: The automaker issued more safety recalls in the U.S. than any other car manufacturer last year.
The 58 recalls announced by Ford last year accounted for about 16% of all recalls nationwide, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The total also is about 30% more than the 45 recalls by Chrysler, the second-most called back brand last year, said NHTSA, the agency that oversees recalls and enforces car safety standards in the U.S.
Ford has issued more safety recalls in the U.S. than any other auto manufacturer for three straight years, USA Today reports.
“That includes either parts of vehicles or entire vehicles recalled, and also compliance concerns over emissions standards or environmental regulations, and software or technology glitches,” Sara Chernikoff writes for USA Today.
General Motors, Chrysler, BMW and Nissan were also among the most recalled brands in the U.S. last year.
Ford CEO Jim Farley has long said improving quality is a top priority for the company. He has also acknowledged that real changes will not come overnight.
“It is the most important initiative in the whole company,” Farley reportedly told a group of retired engineers in late 2022. “And it’s going to take several years. We didn’t lose it in just one or two years. Until we fix quality, nothing else matters.”
Meanwhile, the recalls keep coming.
Ford announced in early January that it is recalling some 130,000 Focus and EcoSport vehicles over concerns about engine stalling and loss of power brake assist functions. The cars’ oil pump drive belts or drive belt tensioners could fail, the company said at the time.
Around the same time, the company said it separately would call back more than 112,000 F-150 trucks, citing a rear axle problem that could cause vehicles to lose power or roll away while parked.
Ford closed out last year on a similar note, announcing in December that it would call back some 230,000 Explorer sport utility vehicles. The cars could lose power or roll away, the company told federal regulators.
Honda Tops Total Cars Recalled List
American Honda Motor Company did not issue as many recalls as Ford, but the company called back more vehicles in total over the year.
Honda recalled more than 6.3 million vehicles in the U.S. alone last year, the NHTSA data show, just more than the nearly 6.2 million cars called back by Ford. Others at the top of the heap include Kia (3.1 million), Chrysler (2.7 million) and General Motors (2 million).
In July, Honda announced that it was recalling 1.3 million vehicles over faulty rearview cameras. A defect put the vehicles - certain 2018-2023 Odyssey, 2019-2022 Pilot and 2019-2023 Passport cars, mostly sold in the U.S. - at increased risk of crashes, Honda told federal regulators.
The company more recently called back some 250,000 Honda and Acura vehicles whose engines may not start or could stall on the road. Honda had received nearly 1,500 warranty claims related to the problem by the time it issued the recall.
Honda ended the year with another massive recall, this time saying it would call back some 4.5 million cars worldwide. The company told regulators that fuel pumps in the vehicles could fail, increasing accident risks.
The move came one day after Honda recalled some 106,000 CR-V hybrid vehicles. It cited the risk of fire or injury in a crash caused by an overheated battery cable or short circuit in that recall.
Why Cars Get Recalled
Car manufacturers call back millions of vehicles around the world every year. They cite a wide range of defects and malfunctions, many of which pose real threats to everyone on the road.
These were the most common types of defects cited in U.S. recalls last year, according to NHTSA:
- Electrical systems
- Power train
- Exterior lighting
- Service brakes, hydraulic
- Back over prevention
It is important to understand that even seemingly “minor” recalls can relate to serious defects that put cars at greater risk of crashes or expose anyone in the vehicles to a higher risk of injury if a collision happens.
Sadly, car manufacturers typically announce recalls long after defective vehicles have left factory floors and dealership lots, sold to unsuspecting buyers.
That is not to mention the dangers lurking in used cars.
Some 40% of used cars being offered for sale across the country are covered by at least one open recall that has not been addressed, according to research from Consumers’ Checkbook and the Consumer Federation of America. Federal legislation that would require used car dealers to address open recalls before they can sell covered vehicles has stalled in Congress.
Legal Rights for California Car Owners
Car owners in California have some important rights and protections, whether they are driving a Ford, Honda, or another type of vehicle.
The California lemon law requires auto manufacturers to do a wide variety of repairs on cars while they are under warranty. It also forces them to buy back cars that they cannot or simply refuse to fix. That includes compensating the owner for the vehicle’s purchase price, as well as financing fees, rental car costs and other related expenses.
A manufacturer can instead offer to replace the vehicle, but it is up to the owner to decide whether to accept or reject this alternative arrangement.
There is no specific number of recall requests or attempts that must be made before the buyback or replacement requirement kicks in. An experienced California lemon law attorney can help you understand your rights and explore your options.
Talk with a California Lemon Law Attorney
If you have been stuck with a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you fight back.