Recalls Fall for 2006

by : Correy Putton

Last year (2006) was a relatively good year for automakers as the number of cars and trucks recalled in the United States was slashed by 38% with General Motors Corporation and Ford Motor Corporation making good pledges to reduce safety-related defects in their vehicles.

GM's recalls declined by 73% from a year earlier same with Ford whose recalls dropped by 71%. The Chrysler Group had recorded the highest recall in the industry with 2.3 million vehicles called back in 27 separate recall notices, tripling the volume from 2005 when it recalled 765,777 vehicles in nine cases. It should also be noted that some of the recorded recalls of Chrysler even include one of its award winning sports car the Eagle Talon due to problems with some its namely its suspension, front control arm, lower ball joint, speed control, and powertrain.

According to the Free Press analysis of federal data, automakers have become more mindful of their production to catch problems at its earlier stage before they affect a large number of customers. The analysis further shows that the US auto industry has recalled a total of 10.6 million vehicles for 2006 which is 6.5 million lower than the 2005 record and third of the total from 2004. There are also some automakers that have experienced fewer recalls like Nissan Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG.

In the past years, industry recalls fluctuated wildly as automakers, safety regulators and owners struggled with problems that affected millions of vehicles built over several years. But since automakers have started to make quality control as their top priority it is expected that incident of recalls will further decline.

Since August last year Chrysler has the highest number of recalls with the addition of 11 more recalls. The federal regulators have already nine defect investigations open on Chrysler vehicles which is more than for any automaker. The recall is caused by problems ranging from faulty suspension parts and lock-prone antilock brakes up to hood that suddenly opens while vehicles are moving. Out of the 11 recalls six of which involved 2007 models.

According to Chrysler spokesman Max Gates, "We believe we are being more vigilant, catching potential safety issues early before large numbers of vehicles are affected, and more importantly, before our customers are affected." He also added that the automaker is implementing several programs designed to reduce recalls by means of improving factories or by working with suppliers. Gates further stated that some of Chrysler's recalls will involve software upgrades that only cause minimal disruption to owners.

Nissan also issued 16 recalls for 2006 covering nearly 1.3 million cars and trucks after calling back 709,838 vehicles in an average of nine recalls last year. Out of the 16 recalls only two involved 2006 and 2007 models including a problem with the piston rings in 2006 Altima and Sentra sedans that forced Nissan to replace an entire engine of some of their customers. Doug Betts, Nissan's Senior Vice President for customer satisfaction said that the company was not satisfied with the volume of its recalls and will be driving for zero recalls.

Toyota has also its share of recalls with 814,507 vehicles in 2006 according to NHTSA's data. On the other hand Honda Motor Co. has a recall that affected almost 1.2 million vehicles due to typo error when it printed the wrong phone numbers for NHTSA in its manuals. The number printed led callers to a phone-sex line. Aside from that mistake, the automaker recalled only 1,397 vehicles for this year due to mechanical problems---this is so far the best performance achieved by any large automaker.