Study Shows Carmakers Delay Recalls to Hide Behind Competitors
A new study highlights a slow crawl to the bottom among the world’s largest car manufacturers. It could be putting everyone’s safety at risk on the road.
Carmakers tend to delay recalls until competitors announce that they are calling back cars for defects, a group of university professors recently found. That allows the companies to “hide in the herd” by clustering recalls around the same time, the group said.
“We find that 73% of recalls occur in clusters, and they form after a 16-day gap in recall announcements,” the academics, led by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Ujjal Mukherjee, said. Those clusters last for about 34 days, during which nearly eight recalls are announced, according to the study.
Clustering recalls largely allows car companies to avoid the hit that can come to stock prices when a carmaker admits that some of its vehicles are not safe to drive. The automaker that starts the cluster usually bears the brunt of that negative impact, the researchers said.
The study centered on six major car companies whose stock is publicly traded: General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Only about 9 percent of the recalls initiated by those companies were “leading recalls,” or those that prompted a cluster.
The group called on federal regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require car manufacturers to promptly disclose the date when they became aware of a defect requiring a recall.
Car Defects, Recalls, and Legal Rights for Vehicle Owners
The new study is a reminder that car companies do not necessarily have owners’ best interests in mind after a vehicle has been sold.
The truth is that millions of vehicles are recalled each year for defects that pose serious safety hazards. It appears that car manufacturers are in little rush to make owners aware of those defects, even if they increase the risk of a crash.
For car owners in California, however, there are ways to fight back. The state’s lemon law offers some important rights and protections.
The law forces carmakers to perform repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. It also requires manufacturers to buy back - or, in some cases, replace - cars that the company is unable or not willing to fix.
How a California Lemon Law Attorney Can Help You
If you are stuck with a malfunctioning or defective car in California, an experienced lemon law attorney can help.
California lemon law attorney Brian Bickel and his team at the Bickel Law Firm have represented hundreds of clients in defective vehicle cases across the state. Our lawyers work aggressively to resolve these cases for the people that we represent, guiding them through the legal process every step of the way.
Our offices are conveniently located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a California lemon law attorney.