The Canadian auto industry endured more car recalls in 2014 than any year prior, with over eight million vehicles affected by various safety issues, including faulty airbags and malfunctioning ignition switches.
Automakers declared close to 600 recalls in Canada last year, according to Transport Canada, with a recent data analysis from The Canadian Press confirming that the year saw more recalls and vehicles recalled than any year before.
The last record for the highest number of recalls was set in 2010, when car manufacturers declared 468 recalls of 1.5 million products, including vehicles, tires and car seats. Yet the total number of vehicles recalled was higher in 2013, when manufacturers pulled back a total of two million products – even though the number of recalls was only at 466.
One of the mast prolific recalls involved Honda Canada, with 700,000 vehicles pulled back due to faulty airbags from Japanese company Takata Corp. Honda wasn’t alone, however, since the problem affected 14 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers worldwide.
According to industry observers, the reason for such a massive amount of recalls in 2014 is caution – since automakers want to prevent any future problems that may arise, fearing that their reputation may be tarnished like that of General Motors.
GM was forced to recall 2.6 million cars worldwide and 368,000 in Canada due to defective ignition switches, which caused several crashes, 58 injuries and 42 deaths. Some criticised GM for waiting 11 years to do so, with the company now facing numerous lawsuits.
Josh Bailey, vice-president of research and editorial at car value site Canadian Black Book, says that the recall numbers are likely to stay high – though probably not as high as last year. According to Bailey, automakers are trying to avoid the bad press that has surrounded GM, which is why they will continue taking more pre-emptive measures when it comes to vehicle recalls in the future.
He does point out that “some of them are even recalling things that are not likely going to become a safety issue.”
However, despite all these highly-publicised recalls and problems, experts believe that Canadians will continue buying new cars – as if nothing happened.
“People have fairly short memories, particularly when shopping for cars,” says Bailey.
Our opinion? We think the higher number of recalls is a good thing since it shows that safety has become a big deal for car makers, which can never hurt!